Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cornhill magazine"

See other formats


> c c * <J 

r : c 

- k r 



E ^ ( ^ 



C CC 



C C - g?S ttt- 

^%^ C 4 

; ^^m^ 



c 

( 



KxVW ^^^1 

^ c ^\>c %-;.v 



" 



<3Gc^ 

CCCc-'rco 









c 



CC C c 
CC cr 



* c<C.Cl S c ^ 
c < 
C <3 

r c 
c 



C CC C 

c <cc 



r cc 

VS ^ 

CC 



(.$- 



m^< < t. c c 

C < C. C n 



C ( 

i: c ccc 'f.< 

{ C CLC <C 

"C Ccaccj 



<X CCC C C C C CC c 

<c<r c cc c c cc c 

< c <x c c 

<C .< . C CC C C, cCci'/C 

CC C CCC C (C<fC 
c cc c c 

c C Cxi C C 'c 

! xc c cc< c ' c 

CC C CC C C c 

.CC C CC C C r 

CM c, v 






C< c UCCXX' C 

ccc^cc^V v a c 

CCCCCC^VY ; \ 

CCC.CCC^*' ' >- 
Cf < c cc 



. 

o C 

C < 

. . (c 

C9 C. 

- 



C 



<r v 

t 

vw cx 

cc c 

cc c 

cc c < 
" C C 

v . 

< c> 

: i - c 
c < 



c cc<^ 
_c cxc 



CC< cc, 

CCL ( c 

&c 4s:.< 

:CC<> ( C 

- c CC 

<r cc < 

c 

c ^C 



C'CC5L/ C" 

C f cCC c. < 

c cccc = c < 

C. cc <c<cc < c . 

c . < C < < <..C<_ C 



- < v. 



; - 





& cx . i R <x cr 

C< CC 

ccc cc cx a 

ccc cc t c:tf. C( cc c (( cc 

C(5' cx '. OT.cc-rc CC cr 

.r CC (' CCC Cc. c CC, CC I C C 

CC? CC CCCC CC <C cc . 

tc CC ' CcCcc c c cc cc 

see- cc i oca c cc C<CL cc: c 

x cc cccc c cc cc c 

CC ^ CCCC cc L CC c< 

cc - c-cc( c ^ t ctr cc 



CJ ;cc CC . ( cede <C C C ci CCC CC (t 



c cc 

cc <t 

CC '' 
L CC ff 

: c c-. 

C < (C 

:<-,' c? 



ccc 

re CCCC 



- , 

c cc 

c c c;c 



<fC << CC 

cc 



cc c<<5;< 

c c< 



ClC CC 

c <c 



CC cr 
cc c 

cc <s 

CC c^C CC 

cc. ('c5r ; ' 



cc cc CC cc ca 

CC CC CC (C 

cc cccr ^c 

T g 



^c;cc cc, (dcccc c- cr ccc c r 

S--CCC' C XCX CC C. C CCC^fcu 

^cccc CuccCC cc c C- c <r. -c 3C 

4KCCCC c ; ^Ct CC C C CCccCCC; 



C' C CC CX 

C C < cc C C! 

c < c c < 

C C c cr C r 

C C CC. C ' 



< cc 
- 

cr cc 

c cc 

c cc 



. 
^orc < rcc cc cc cc c cc c c 

- cere, cc cr cc-x: cc^ c 
c /x c c c c r c c: C cc c c 

CCC C cc:CC C CCC C C C CCC. C C C C 
ccc C c><C CCC cc c cc :c ^<T" C 



4^, r ^^ >-^ v "-^tL^i'CCC" C 

cccrc ' 



C (\ C < 





c cc 
r CC' 
CCC C CC c 



C C ^Cc 



THE 



COKNHILL MAGAZINE. 

NEW SERIES, VOL. VI. 



THE 



CORNHILL 



MAGAZINE 



v- 

NEW SERIES 
VOL. VI. 



JANUARY TO JUNE 1886 



LONDON 

SMITH, ELDEK, & CO., 15 WATEKLOO PLACE 

1886 




V. 53 



[The right of publishing Translations of Articles in this Magazine is reserved.] 



CONTENTS 

OF VOL. VI. 

PAGE 

QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

Chapter I. The Family . . . . ' ; . . . . 1 

II. The London Office 7 

HI. Alarms 13 

IV. Going to look him up 19 

V. The House with the Flowery Name 25 

VI. Perplexities '*, . .113 

VII. Explanation . , 118 

VIII. Expedients . . .. ~V ' . ;;: ; ' j V .124 

IX. The Revelation . . . -^;''- ' -- ^ ,- r -. .131 

X, The End 137 

COURT ROYAL. (Illustrated by G. du Maurier.) 

Chapter XXXVII. A Sister of Mercy 82 

XXXVIII. Reformation 89 

XXXIX. Over a Snail 97 

XL. Cheek Senior . . . . , .104 

XLI. An Entanglement 197 

XL1I. Nibbling .203 

XLIII. 'Shares?' . . . . , . . 209 

XLIV. A Startling Proposal * . 216 

. + XLV. Retribution . . . . ... . . 250 

XL VI. ETenebrisLux . . . s . 259 

XL VII. Leigh . . .iff*. '.^/r-x !:>. . . 266 

XL VIII. The Fall of a Pillar . . 273 



vi CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI. 

COURT ROYAL (continued). 

PAGE 

Chapter XLIX. An April Fool 371 

L. To the Rescue 379 

LI. The Flying-Fish r 386 

LU. On the Pier 396 

LIII. Another Disappointment . . . . . 540 

LIV. A New Leaf jf~ . . 544 

LV. In Vain 550 

LVI. Preparatory 558 

LVII. Release 639 

LVIII. The Last of the Ems Water . . . .646 

LIX. Without a Watch-Dog . . . .... 652 

LX. Two Pictures 660 

JESS. 

Chapter I. John has an Adventure 449 

II. How the Sisters came to Mooifontein .... 454 

III. Mr. Frank Muller 463 

IV. Bessie is asked in Marriage 561 

V. Dreams are Foolishness . . . , . . . 568 

VI. The Storm breaks . . ..... . .574 

A&ENTS, CONFIDENTIAL . 337 

A KBNTISH BOSWBLL 103 

A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME ' . . ' _ flP 

AUTOGRAPHS . I' J . . . 226 

^ 

BALZAC 470 

BOSWELL, A KENTISH . 403 

BOYS' BLUNDERS *'.:. . . 619 

CAS'ALTT CORNER 582 

CASTLE DANGEROUS, IN _ 514 

COINCIDENCES OF LITERATURE, SOME 504 

CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS t 337 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI. vii 

PAGE 

DEADLEIGH SWEEP, THE 297 

FAROE NOTES, SOME 624 

FAVOURITE THEME, A NOVELIST'S 30 

FETISH, SWORN TO THE (Illustrated by E. J. Wheeler) .... 417 

GOLD WULFRIC, THE . . . * t . . 154 

GREY WETHERS . . . -. . ' . . . . . .72 

IK CASTLE DANGEROUS * . . . . 514 

IN THE REKKA HOHLE . 54 

KENTISH BOSWELL, A . . . . . . , " '"'. "~ . . . 403 

LITERATURE, SOME COINCIDENCES OF .... **.- . . 504 

NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME, A . . . . . . . 30 

ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO, THE STORY OF THE ... 329 

RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL WHIST .. . . ' . . . . . 143 
REKKA HOHLE, IN THE . . . .^ 54 

SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW 44 

SCENIC WORLD, THE . .-" . . * . . , . . . 281 

SCORES AND TALLIES . . 436 

SOLES AND TURBOT . ... . ... .. . . . 184 

SOME COINCIDENCES OF LITERATURE . . . . . . . . 604 

SOME FAROE NOTES . . . . . .... . 524 

SOME SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED . . ."'- ' . . . 314 
STAGE-EFFECTS (Illustrated by A. Morrow} . . . , . 490 

STORY OF THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO, THE . . . 329 
SUSPENSE. . . .-...*.. . . > t : . 416 

SWEEP, THE DEADLEIGH . . . . .,'.". . . 297 

SWORN TO THE FETISH (Illustrated by E. J. Wheeler) . '' . . . 417 



viii CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI. 

PAGB 

TALLIES, SOOBES AND * r * *36 

THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP , 297 

THE GOLD WTTLFKIC 154 

THE SCENIC WOULD 281 

THE STOKT OF THE ONE PIONEBB OP TIERRA DEL FUEGO . . . 329 

THE WINGHAM CASE 592 

TRAITOKS' HILL 629 

TURBOT, SOLES AND 184 


WETHERS, QBET 72 

WHIST : RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL 143 

WINGHAM CASE, THE 692 

WOBLD, THE SCENIC 281 

WTTLFRIC, THE GOLD 164 



THE 

COKNHILL MAGAZINE. 



JANUARY, 1886. 

QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 
BY MRS. OLIPHANT. 

CHAPTER I. 

THE FAMILY. 

MR. AND MRS. LYCETT-LANDON were two middle-aged people in 
the fulness of life and prosperity. Though they belonged to the 
world of commerce, they were both well-born and well connected, 
which was not so common, perhaps, thirty years ago as it is now. 
He was the son of an Irish baronet ; she was the daughter of a 
Scotch laird. He had never, perhaps, been the dashing young 
man suggested by his parentage, though he rode better than a 
business man has any call to ride, and had liked in moderation all 
his life the pleasures which business men generally can only afford 
themselves when they have grown very rich. Mr. Lycett-Landon 
was not very rich in the Liverpool sense of the word, and he had 
never been very poor. He had accepted his destination in the 
counting-house of a distant relation, who was the first to connect 
the name of Landon with business, without any heart-break or 
abandonment of brighter dreams. It had seemed to him from the 
beginning a sensible and becoming thing to do. The idea of 
becoming rich had afforded him a rational satisfaction. He had not 
envied his brothers their fox-hunting, their adventures in various 
parts of the world ; their campaigning and colonising. Liverpool, 
indeed, was prosaic but very comfortable. He liked the comfort, the 
sensation of always having an easy balance at his bankers (bliss, 
indeed ! and like every other kind of bliss, so out of reach to most 
of us), the everyday enjoyment of luxury and well-being, and was 
VOL. VI. NO. 31, N.S. 1 



2 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

indifferent to the prosaic side of the matter. His marriage was in 
every sense of the word a good marriage ; one which filled both 
families with satisfaction. She had money enough to help him in 
his business, and business connections in the West of Scotland 
(where the finest people have business connections), which helped 
him still more; and she was a good woman, full of accomplish- 
ments and good-humour and intelligence. In those days, perhaps, 
ladies cultivated accomplishments more than they do now. They 
did not give themselves up to music or to art with absorbing 
devotion, becoming semi- or more than semi-professional, but 
rather with a general sense that to do lovely things was their voca- 
tion in the world, pursued the graces tenderly all round, becoming 
perhaps excellent in some special branch because it was more con- 
genial than the others, but no more. Thus while Mrs. Lycett- 
Landon was far from equal to Mozart and Beethoven, and would 
have looked on Bach with alarm, and Brahms with consternation, 
in dance music, which her children demanded incessantly, she 
had no superior. The young people preferred her to any band. 
Her time was perfect, her spirit and fire contagious nothing 
under five-and-twenty could keep still when she played, and not 
many above. And she was an admirable mistress of a house, 
which is the first of all the fine arts for a woman. What she might 
have been as a poor man's wife, with small means to make the 
best of, it is unnecessary to inquire, for this was fortunately not her 
rdle in life. With plenty of money and of servants, and a pretty 
house and everything that was necessary to keep it up, she was the 
most excellent manager in the world. Perhaps now and then she 
was a trifle hard upon other women who were not so well off as 
she, and saw the defects in their management, and believed that 
in their place she would have done better. But this is a fault that 
the most angelic might fall into, and which only becomes more 
natural and urgent the more benevolent the critic is, till some- 
times she can scarcely keep her hands from meddling, so anxious is 
she to set the other right. It was to Mrs. Lycett-Landon's credit, 
as it is to that of many like her, that she never meddled ; though 
while she was silent, her heart burned to think how much better 
she would have done it. Her husband was somewhat of the same 
way of thinking in respect to men in business who did not get on. 

He said, ' Now, if So-and-so would only see ,' while his wife in 

her heart would so fain have taken the house out of the limp 
hands of Mrs. So-and-so and set everything right. It is a triumph 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 3 

of civilisation, and at the same time a great trial to benevolent 
and clear-sighted people, that according to the usages of society 
the So-and-so's must always be left to muddle along in their own 
way. 

Lycett, Landon, Fareham and Co. (Mr. Lycett-Landon com- 
bined the names and succession of two former partners) had 
houses in Liverpool, Glasgow, and London, and a large business. 
I think they were cotton-brokers, without having any very clear 
idea what that means. But this will probably be quite unimpor- 
tant to the reader. The Lycett-Landons had begun by living 
in one of the best parts of Liverpool, which in those days had not 
extended into luxurious suburbs as now, or at least had done so in 
a very much less degree ; and when the children came, and it was 
thought expedient to live in the country, they established them- 
selves on the other side of the Mersey, in a great house surrounded 
by handsome gardens and grounds overlooking the great river, 
which, slave of commerce as it is and was, was then a very noble 
sight, as no doubt it continues to be. To look out upon it in the 
darkening, or after night had fallen, to the line of lights opposite, 
when the darkness hid everything that was unlovely in the com- 
position of the great town and its fringe of docks, and to watch the 
great ships lying in midstream with lights at their masts and bows, 
and the small sprites of attendant steamboats, each carrying its 
little lamp, as they rustled to and fro, threading their way among 
the anchored giants, crossing and recrossing at a dozen different 
points, was an endless pleasure. I do not speak of the morning, 
of the sunshine, shining tranquil upon the majestic stream, flash- 
ing back from its miles of waters, glowing on the white spars and 
sails, the marvellous aerial cordage, the great ships resting from 
their labours, each one of them a picture, because that is a more 
common sight. But there are, or were, few things so grand, so 
varied, so full of interest and amusement as the Mersey at night. 
There were times, indeed, when it was very cold, and rarer times 
when it was actually dangerous to cross the ferry ; when the world 
was lost in a white fog, and a collision was possible at every moment. 
But these exciting occasions were few, and in ordinary cases the 
Lycett-Landons, great and small, thought the crossing a pleasant 
adjunct both to the business and pleasure which took them to vulgar 
Liverpool. Vulgar was the name they were fond of applying to it 
with that sense of superiority which is almost inevitable in the 
circumstances, in people conscious of living out of it, and of making 

12 



4 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

of it a point of view, a feature in the landscape. But yet there 
was a certain affection mingled with this contempt. They rather 
liked to talk of the innumerable masts, the miles of docks, and 
when their visitors fell into enthusiasm with the scene, felt both 
pleasure and pride as in an excellence which they had themselves 
some credit from : ' A poor thing, sir, but mine own : ' and they 
felt a little scorn of those who did not see how fine the Mersey 
was with its many ships, although they affected to despise it in 
their own persons. These were the affectations of the young. Mr. 
Lycett-Landon himself had a solid satisfaction in Liverpool. He 
put all objections down at once with statistics and an intimation 
that people who did not respect the second seaport in the king- 
dom were themselves but little worthy of respect. His wife, 
however, was like the young people, and patronised the town. 

At the time when the following incidents began to happen the 
family consisted of six children. These happy people had not 
been without their griefs, and there was more than one gap in 
the family. Horace was not the eldest, nor was little Julian the 
youngest of the children. But these times of grief had passed over, 
as they do, though no one can believe it, and scarcely disturbed 
the general history of happiness looking back upon it, though they 
added many experiences, made sad thoughts familiar, and gave to 
the mother at least a sanctuary of sorrow to which she retired often 
in the bustle of life, and was more strengthened than saddened, 
though she herself scarcely knew this. Horace was twenty, and 
his sister Millicent eighteen, the others descending by degrees to 
the age of six. There was a great deal of education going on in 
the family, into which Mrs. Lycett-Landon threw herself with fer- 
vour, only regretting that she had not time to get up classics with 
the boys, and with great enthusiasm throwing herself into the 
music, the reading, all the forms of culture with which she had 
already a certain acquaintance. These pursuits filled up the days 
which had already seemed very fully occupied, and there were 
moments when papa, coming home after his business, declared that 
he felt himself quite * out of it,' and lingered in the dining-room 
after dinner and dozed instead of coming upstairs. But there is 
nothing more common than that a man of fifty, a comfortable 
merchant, after a very comfortable dinner, should take a little nap 
over his wine, and nobody thought anything of it. Horace was 
destined for business, to take up the inheritance of his father, 
which was far too considerable to be let fall into other hands ; and 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 5 

though the young man had his dreams like most young men, and 
now and then had gratified himself with the notion that he was 
making a sacrifice, for the sake of his family, of his highest aspira- 
tions, yet in reality he was by no means dissatisfied with his 
destination, and contemplated the likelihood of becoming a very 
rich man, and raising the firm into the highest regions of commer- 
cial enterprise with pleasure and a sense of power which is always 
agreeable. Naturally, he thought that his father and old Fare ham 
were a great deal too cautious, and did not make half enough of 
their opportunities ; and that when ' new blood,' meaning himself, 
came in, the greatness and the rank of merchant princes, to which 
they had never attained, would await the house. He had been a 
little shy at first to talk of this, feeling that ambition of a com- 
mercial kind was not heroic, and that his mother and Milly would 
be apt to gibe. But what ambition of an aspiring youth was ever 
gibed at by mother and sister ? They found it a great and noble 
ambition when they discovered it. Milly's cheeks glowed and her 
eyes shone with the thought. She talked of old Venice, whose 
merchants were indeed princes, generals, and statesmen, all in 
one. There are a great many fine things ready existing to be 
said on this subject, and she made the fullest use of them. 
The father was rich and prosperous, and able to indulge in any 
luxury ; but Horace should be great. A great merchant is as 
great as any other winner of heroic successes. Thus the young 
man was encouraged in his aspirations. Mr. Lycett-Landon did 
not quite take the same view. ' He'll do very well if he keeps up 
to what has been done before him,' he said. ' Don't put nonsense 
into his head. Yes ; all that flummery about merchant princes and 
so forth is nonsense. If he goes to London with that idea in his 
head, there's no telling what mischief he may do.' 

' My dear,' said Mrs. Lycett-Landon, ' it must always be well 
to have a high aim.' 

' A high fiddlestick ! ' said the father ; f if he does as well as I 
have done, he'll do very well.' And this sentiment was, perhaps, 
natural, too ; for though there are indeed parents who rejoice in 
seeing their sons surpass them, there are many on the other side 
who, feeling their own work extremely meritorious, entertain natural 
sentiments of derision for the brags of the inexperienced boy who 
is going to do so much better. Wait till he is as old as I am,' 
Mr. Lycett-Landon said. 

* So long as he is not swept away into society,' said the mother. 



6 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

1 Of course, when he is known to be in town, he will be taken a 
great deal of notice of, and asked out ' 

' Oh, to Windsor Castle, I daresay,' said papa, and laughed. He 
was in one of his offensive moods, Milly said. It was very seldom 
he was offensive, but there are moments when a man must be so, 
against the united forces of youth and maternal sympathy with 
youth, in self-defence. Unless he means to let them have it all 
their own way he must be disagreeable from time to time. Mr. 
Lycett-Landon asserted himself very seldom, but still he had to 
do it now and then ; and though there was nothing in the world 
(except Milly) that he was more proud of than Horace, called him 
a young puppy, and wanted to know what anybody saw in him 
that he was to do so much better than his father. But the ladies, 
though they resented it for the moment, knew that there was not 
very much in this. 

It was to the London house that Horace was destined. He was 
to spend a year in it ' looking about him,' picking up an acquaint- 
ance with the London variety of mercantile life, learning all the 
minutiae of business, and so forth. At present it was under the 
charge of a distant relative of Mr. Fareham's, who, as soon as 
Horace should be able to go alone in the paths of duty, was destined 
to a very important post in the American house, which at present 
was small, but which Fareham's cousin was to make a great deal of. 
In the meantime, Mr. Lycett-Landon himself paid frequent visits 
to town to see that all was going well, and would sometimes stay 
there for a fortnight, or even three weeks, much jested at by his 
wife and daughter when he returned. 

' Papa finds he can do a great deal of business at the club,' 
said Milly ; * he meets so many people, you know. The London 
cotton-brokers go to all the theatres, and to the Eow in the morn- 
ing. It is so much nicer than at Liverpool.' 

* You monkey ! ' her father said with a laugh. He took it very 
good-humouredly for a long time. But a joke that is carried on 
too long gets disagreeable at the last, and after a while he became 
impatient. ' There, that's enough of it,' he would say, which at 
first was a little surprising, for Milly used, so far as papa was con- 
cerned, to have everything her own way. 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 7 


CHAPTER II. 

THE LONDON OFFICE. 

' Again so soon ! ' 

This is what Mrs. Lycett-Landon and Milly said in chorus as 
the head of the house, with something which might have been a 
little embarrassment, announced a third visit to London in the 
course of four months. There was an absence of his usual assured 
tone a sort of apologetic accent, which neither of them identified, 
but which both were vaguely conscious of, as expressing some- 
thing new. 

* Robert,' said his wife, * you are anxious about young Fare- 
ham ; I feel sure of it. Things are not going as you like.' 

* Well, my dear, I didn't want to say anything about it, and 
you must not breathe a syllable of this to Fareham, who would be 
much distressed ; but I am a little anxious about the young 
fellow. Discipline is very slack at the office. He goes and comes 
when he likes, not like a man of business. In short, I want to 
keep an eye upon him.' 

* Oh, papa,' cried Milly, ' what a dear you are ! and I that 
have been making fun of you about the club and the Row !' 

' Never mind, my dear,' said her father magnanimously ; 
' your fun doesn't hurt. But now that you have surprised my 
little secret, you must take care of it. Not a word, not a hint, 
not so much as a look, to any of the Farehams. I would not have 
it known for the world. But, of course, we must not expose 
Horace to the risk of acquiring unbusiness-like habits.' 

* Oh, and most likely fast ways,' cried Mrs. Lycett-Landon, 
' for they seldom stop at unbusiness-like habits.' She had grown 
a little pale with fright. * Oh, not for the world, Robert our 
boy, who has never given us a moment's anxiety. I would rather 
go to London myself, or to the end of the world.' 

4 Fortunately, that's not necessary,' he said with a smile, 'and 
you must not jump at the worst, as women are so fond of doing. 
I have no reason to suppose he is fast, only a little disorderly, 
and not exact as a business man should be wants watching a 
little. For goodness sake, not a word to Fareham of all this. I 
would not for any consideration have him know.' 

* Don't you think perhaps he might have a good influence ? he 
has been so kind to his nephew.' 



8 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

1 That is just the very thing,' said Mr. Lycett-Landon. ' He 
has been very kind (young Fareham is not his nephew, by the 
way, only a distant cousin), and, naturally, he would take a tone 
of authority, or preach, or take the after-all-I've-done-for-you tone, 
which would never do. No, a little watching just the sense that 
there is an eye on him. He has a great many good qualities,' 
said the head of the house with a little pomp of manner ; ' and I 
think I really think with a little care, that we'll pull him 
through.' 

' Papa, you are an old dear,' said Milly with enthusiasm. Per- 
haps he did not like the familiarity of the address, or the rush she 
made at him to give him a kiss. At least, he put her aside some- 
what hastily. 

1 There, there,' he said, * that will do. I have got a great 
many things to look after. Have my things packed, my dear, 
and send them over to Lime-street Station to meet me. You 
can put in some light clothes, in case the weather should change. 
One never knows what turn it may take at this time of the 
year.' 

It was April, and the weather had been gloomy ; it was 
quite likely it might change, as he said, though it was not so 
easy to tell what he could want with his grey suit in town. 
This, however, the ladies thought nothing of at the moment, being 
full of young Fareham and his sudden declension from the paths 
of duty. ' And he was always so steady and so well behaved,' 
cried Mrs. Lycett-Landon. She saw after her husband's packing, 
which was a habit she had retained from the old days, when they 
were not nearly so rich. ' He was always a model young man ; 
that was why I was so pleased to think of him as a companion 
for Horace.' 

' These model young men are just the ones that go wrong,' 
said Milly, with that air of wisdom which is so diverting to older 
intelligences. Her mother laughed. 

* Of course your experience is great,' she said ; ' but I don't 
think that I am of that opinion. If a boy is steady till he is five- 
and-twenty, he is not very likely to break out after. Perhaps 
your father's prejudice in favour of business habits ' 

* Mamma ! It was you who said a young man seldom stopped 
there.' 

'Was it? Well, perhaps it was,' said Mrs. Lycett-Landon 
with a little confusion. < I spoke without thought. One should 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

not be too hard on young men. They can't all be made in the 
same mould. Your father was always so exact, never missing the 
boat once : and he cannot bear people who miss the boat ; so, I 
hope, perhaps it is not so bad as he thinks.' 

' It would never do,' said Milly, still with that air of solemnity, 
' to have Horace thrown in the way of anyone who is not quite 
good and right.' 

At this her mother laughed, and said, ' I am afraid he must 
be put out of the world then, Milly. I hope he has principles of 
his own.' 

Notwithstanding this sudden levity, Mrs. Lycett-Landon fully 
agreed later in the day, when the portmanteau had gone to the 
Lime-street Station, and she and her daughter had followed it 
and seen papa off by the train that it was very important Horace 
should make his beginning in business under a prudent and 
careful guide ; and that if there was any irregularity in young 
Fareham, it was very good of papa to take so much pains to put it 
right. Horace, who went home with them, was but partially let 
into the secret, lest, perhaps, he might be less careful than they 
were, and let some hint drop in the office as to the object of his 
father's journey. The ladies questioned him covertly, as ladies have 
a way of doing. What did the office think of young Mr. Fareham 
in London ? Was he liked ? Was he thought to be a good man 
of business ? What did Mr. Pearce say, who was the head clerk 
and a great authority ? 

' I say,' said Horace, ' why do you ask so many questions about 
Dick Fareham ? Does he want to marry Milly ? Well, it looks 
like it, for you never took such notice of him before.' 

* To marry me ! ' said Milly, in a blaze of indignation. * I hope 
he is not quite so idiotic as that.' 

* He is not idiotic at all ; he is a very nice fellow. You will 
be very well off if you get anyone half as good.' 

' I think,' said the mother, ' that papa and I will make all the 
necessary investigations when it comes to marrying Milly. Now 
make haste, children, or we shall miss the first boat/ 

It was an April evening, still light and bright, though the air 
was shrewish, and the wind had some east in it, blighting the gar- 
dens and keeping the earth grey, but doing much less harm to the 
water, which was all ruffled into edges of white. The ten minutes' 
crossing was not enough to make these white crests anything but 
pleasant, and the big ships lay serenely in midstream, owning 

15 



10 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

the force of the spring breeze by a universal strain at their anchors, 
but otherwise with a fine indifference to all its petty efforts. The 
little ferry steamboat coasted along their big sides with much rustle 
and commotion, churning up the innocent waves. It was quite a 
considerable little party of friends and neighbours who crossed 
habitually in this particular boat, for the Lycett-Landons lived a 
little way up the river not in bustling Birkenhead. They were 
all so used to this going and coming, and to constant meetings 
during this little voyage, that it was like a perpetually recurring 
water-party a moment of holiday after the work of the day. The 
ladies had been shopping, the men had all escaped from their offices ; 
they had the very last piece of news, and carried with them the 
evening papers, the new Punch everything that was new. If there 
was any little cloud upon the family after their parting with papa, 
it blew completely away in the fresh wind ; but there was not, in 
reality, any cloud upon them, nor any cause for anxiety or trouble. 
Even the mother had no thought of anything of the kind, no 
anticipation that was not pleasant. Life had gone so well with 
her that, except when one of the children was ailing, she had 
no fear. 

Mr. Lycett-Landon on this occasion was a long time in London. 
He did not return till nearly the end of May, and he came back 
in a very fretful, uncomfortable state of mind. He told his wife 
that he was more uneasy than ever; he did not blame young 
Fareham ; he did not know whether it was he that was to be 
blamed ; but things were going wrong somehow. * Perhaps it is 
only that he doesn't know how to keep up discipline,' he said, ' and 
that the real fault is with the clerks. I begin to doubt if it's safe 
to leave a lot of young fellows together. It will be far safer to 
keep Horace here under my own eye, and with old Fareham, who 
is exactitude itself. He will do a great deal better. I don't think 
I shall send him to London.' 

* Of course, Eobert, I should prefer to keep him at home,' she 
said, * but I am afraid after all that has been said it will disappoint 
the boy.' 

' Oh ! disappoint the boy ! What does it matter about dis- 
appointing them at that age ? They have plenty of time 
to work it out. It is at my time of life that disappointment 
tells.' 

'That is true, no doubt,' said the mother, < but we are used to 
disappointment, and they are not.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 11 

He turned upon her almost savagely. ' You ! What disappoint- 
ments have you ever had ? ' he cried, with such an air of con- 
temptuous impatience as filled her with dismay. 

4 Oh Eobert ! ' She looked at him with eyes that filled with 
tears. ' Disappointment is too easy a word,' she said. 

i You mean the the children. What a way you women have 
of raking up the departed at every turn. I don't believe, in my 
view of the word, you ever had a disappointment in your life. You 
never desired anything very much and had it snatched from you 

just when you thought ' he stopped suddenly. * How odd,' he 

said, with a strange laugh, ' that I should be discussing these 
sort of things with you ! ' 

4 What sort of things ? I can't tell you how much you astonish 
me, Robert. Did you ever desire anything so very much and I 
not know ?' 

Then he turned away with a shrug of his shoulders. * You 
are so matter of fact. You take everything au pied de la, lettre,' 
he said. 

This conversation remained in Mrs. Lycett-Landon's mind in 
spite of her efforts to represent to herself that it was only a way 
of speaking he had fallen into, and could mean nothing. How 
could it mean anything except business, or the good of the children, 
or some other perfectly legitimate desire ? But, yet, in none of 
these ways had he any disappointment to endure. The children 
were all well and vigorous, and, thank Grod, doing as well as heart 
could desire. Horace was as good a boy as ever was : and business 
was doing well. There was no failure so far as she was aware in 
any of her husband's hopes. It must be an exaggerated way of 
speaking. He must have allowed the disorder in the London office 
tc get on his nerves : and he had the pallid, restless look of a man 
in suspense. He could not keep quiet. He was impatient for his 
letters, and dissatisfied when he had got them. He was irritable 
with the children and even with herself, stopping her when she 
tried to consult him about anything. * What is it ? ' or * About 
those brats again ? ' he said peevishly. This was when she wanted 
his opinion about a governess for little Fanny and Julian. 

' What between Milly's balls and Fanny's governess you drive 
me distracted. Can't you settle these trifles yourself when you 
see how much occupied I am with more important things ? ' 

* I never knew before that you thought anything more impor- 
tant than the children's welfare,' she said. 



12 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

* If there was any real question of the children's welfare,' he 
answered, with more than equal sharpness. 

It came almost to a quarrel between them. Mrs. Lycett- 
Landon could not keep her indignation to herself. ' Because 
the London office is not in good order ! ' she could not help saying 
to Milly. 

{ Oh ! mamma, dear, something more than that must be both- 
ering him,' the girl said, and cried. 

' I fear that we shall have to leave our nice home and settle 
in London. It is like a monomania. I believe your father thinks 
of nothing else night and day.' 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon said this as if it were something very ter- 
rible ; but, perhaps, it was scarcely to be expected that Milly 
would take it in the same way. * Settle in London ! ' she said ; and 
a gleam of light came into her eyes. The father came into the 
room at the end of this consultation and heard these words. 

* Who talks of settling in London ? ' he said. 

* My dear Kobert, it seems to me it must come to that ; for if 
you are so uneasy about the office, and always thinking of it 

* I suppose,' he said, * it is part of your nature to take every- 
thing in that matter of fact way. I am annoyed about the London 
office ; but rather than move you out of this house I would see the 
London office go to the dogs any day. I don't mind,' he added, 
with a little vehemence, ' the coming and going ; but to break up 
this house, to transplant you to London, there is nothing in the 
world I would not sooner do.' 

She was a little surprised by his earnestness. ' I am very glad 
you feel as I do on that point. We have all been so happy here. 
But I, for my part, would give up anything to make you more 
satisfied, my dear.' 

* That is the last thing in the world to make me satisfied. 
Whatever happens, I don't want to sacrifice you,' he said, in a 
subdued tone. 

' It would not be a sacrifice at all ; what fun it would be ; 
and then Horry need never leave us,' cried Milly. ' For my 
part, I should like it very much, papa.' 

'Don't let us hear another word of such nonsense,' he said 
angrily ; and his face was so dark and his tone so sharp that Miss 
Milly did not find another word to say. 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 13 
CHAPTER III. 

ALARMS. 

IT was rather a relief to them all when the father went away 
again. They did not say so indeed in so many words, still keep- 
ing up the amiable domestic fiction that the house was not at all 
like itself when papa was away. But as a matter of fact there 
could be little doubt that the atmosphere was clear after he was 
gone. A certain sulphurous sense of something volcanic in the 
air, the alarm of a possible explosion, or at least of the heat and 
mutterings that precede storms, departed with him. He himself 
looked brighter when he went away. He was even gay as he 
waved his hand to them from the railway carriage, for they had 
gone very dutifully to see him off, as was the 'family custom. 
* Papa is quite delighted to get off to his beloved London,' Milly 
said. ' He feels that things go well when he is there,' her mother 
replied, feeling a certain need to be explanatory. The household 
life was all the freer when he was gone. The young people had 
a great many engagements, and Mrs. Lycett-Landon was very 
pleasantly occupied with these and with her younger children, 
and with all the manifold affairs of a large and full house. As 
happens so often, though the fundamental laws were not infringed, 
there was yet a little enlarging, a little loosening of bonds when the 
head of the house was not there. Mamma never objected to be 
' put out' for any summer pleasure that might arise. She did not 
mind changing the dinner-hour, or even dispensing with dinner 
altogether, to suit a country expedition, a garden-party, or a pic-nic, 
which was a thing impossible when papa's comfort was the first 
thing to be thought- of. It was June, and life was full of such 
pleasures to the young people. Horace, indeed, would go duti- 
fully to the office every morning, endeavouring to emulate the 
virtue of his father, and never miss the nine o'clock boat ; though 
as this high effort cost him in most cases his breakfast, his mother 
was much perplexed on the subject, and not at all sure that such 
goodness did not cost more than it was worth. But he very often 
managed to be back for lunch, and the amusements for the after- 
noon were endless. Mr. Lycett-Landon wrote very cheerfully 
when he got back to London ; he told his wife that he thought 
he saw his way to establishing matters on a much better footing, 



14 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

and that, after all, Dick Fareham was not at all a bad fellow ; but 
he would not send Horace there for some time, till everything 
was in perfect order, and in the meantime felt that his own eye 
and supervision were indispensable. <I shall hope by next year 
to get everything into working order,' he said. The family 
were quite satisfied by these explanations. There was nothing 
impassioned in their affection for their father, and Mrs. Lycett- 
Landon was happy with her children, and quite satisfied that her 
husband should do what he thought best. So long as he was well, 
and pleasing himself, she was not at all exacting. Marriage is a 
tie which is curiously elastic when youth is over and the reign of 
the sober everyday has come in. There is no such union, and yet 
there is no union that sits so lightly. People who are each other's 
only confidants, and cannot live without each other, yet feel a 
half-relief and sense of emancipation when accidentally and tem- 
porarily they are free of each other. A woman says to her daughter, 
' We will do so-and-so and so-and-so when your father is away,' 
meaning no abatement of loyalty or love, but yet an unconscious, 
unaccustomed, not unenjoyable freedom. And the man no doubt 
feels it perhaps more warmly on his side. So it was not felt that 
there was anything to be uncomfortable about or even to regret. 
The letters were not so frequent as the wife could have wished. 
She sent a detailed history of the family, and of everything 
that was going on every second day, but her husband's replies 
were short, and there were much longer intervals between. Some- 
times a week would elapse without any news ; but so much was 
going on at home, and all minds were so fully occupied, that no 
particular notice was taken. Mrs. Lycett-Landon asked, ' How is 
it that you are so lazy about writing ? ' and there was an end of it. 
So long as he was perfectly well, as he said he was, what other 
danger could there be to fear ? ' 

There are times when the smallest matter awakens family 
anxiety, and there are other times when people are unaccountably, 
inconceivably easy in their minds, and will not take alarm whatever 
indications of peril may arise. When real calamity is impending 
how often is this the case ! Ears that are usually on the alert are 
deafened ; eyes that look out the most eagerly, lose their power of 
vision. Little Julian had a whitlow on his finger, and his mother 
was quite unhappy about it ; but as for her husband, she was at 
rest and feared nothing. When he wrote, after a long silence, 
that he felt one of his colds coming on and was going to nurse 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 15 

himself, then indeed she felt a momentary uneasiness. But 
his colds were never of a dangerous kind ; they were colds that 
yielded at once to treatment. She wrote immediately, and bade 
him be sure and stay indoors for a day or two, and sent him Dr. 
Holler's prescription, which always did him good. * If you want 
me, of course you know I will come directly,' she wrote. To this 
letter he replied much more quickly than usual, begging her on 
no account to disturb herself, as he was getting rapidly well again. 
But after this there was a longer pause in the correspondence 
than had ever happened before. 

On one of these evenings she met her husband's partner, old 
Fareham, as he was always called, at dinner, at a large sumptuous 
Liverpool party. There was to be a great ball that evening, and 
Mrs. Lycett-Landon and her two eldest children had come ( across ' 
for the two entertainments, and were to stay all night. The 
luxury of the food and the splendour of the accompaniments I 
may leave to the imagination. It was such a dinner as is rarely 
to be seen out of commercial circles. The table groaned, not 
under good cheer, as used to be the case, but under silver of the 
highest workmanship, and the most costly flowers. The flowers 
alone cost as much as would have fed a street full of poor people, 
for they were not, I need scarcely say, common ones, things 
that any poor curate or even clerk might have on his table, 
but waxy and wealthy exotics, combinations of the chemist's skill 
with the gardener's, all the more difficult to be had in such 
profusion because the season was summer and the gardens full of 
Nature's easy production. Mr. Fareham nodded to his partner's 
wife, catching her eye with difficulty between the piles of flowers. 
* Heard from London lately ? ' he said across the table, and nodded 
again several times when she answered, ' Not for some days.' Old 
Fareham was usually a jocose old gentleman, less perfect in his 
manners than the other member of the firm, and of much lower 
origin, though perhaps more congenial to the atmosphere in which 
he lived ; but he was not at all jocose that evening. He had a 
cloud upon his face. When his genial host tried to rouse him to 
his usual ' form ' (for what can be more disappointing than an 
amusing man who will not do anything to amuse?) he would 
brighten up for a moment, and then relapse into dulness. As 
soon as he came into the drawing-room after dinner he made his 
way to his partner's wife. 

* So you haven't been hearing regularly from London ? ' he 



16 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

said, taking up his post in front of her, and bending over her low 
chair. 

* I didn't say that ; I said not for a few days.' 

* Neither have we,' said old Fareham, shaking his white head. 
' Not at all regular. D'ye think he is quite well ? He has been 
a deal in town this year.' 

She could scarcely restrain a little indignation, thinking if old 
Fareham only knew the reason, and how it was to save his relative 
and set him right ! But she answered in an easy tone, * Yes, he 
has thought it expedient for various reasons.' If he had the 
least idea of his nephew's irregularities, this, she thought, would 
make him wince. 

% 

But it did not. ' Oh, for various reasons ? ' he said, lifting his 
shaggy eyebrows. * And did you think it expedient too ? ' 

' You know I enter very little into business matters,' she replied 
with the calm she felt. * Of course we all miss him very much 
when he is away from home : but I never have put myself in 
Eobert's way.' 

' You've been a very good wife to him,' said the old man with 
a slight shake of the head ; ' an excellent wife ; and you don't feel 
the least uneasy? Quite comfortable about his health, and all 
that sort of thing ? I think I'd look him up if I were you.' 

' Have you heard anything about his health ? Is Kobert ill, Mr. 
Fareham, and you are trying to break it to me ? ' she said, springing 
to her feet. 

' No, no, nothing of the sort,' he said, putting his hand on her 
arm to make her reseat herself. 'Nothing of the sort; not a 
word ! I know no more than you do probably not half or quarter 
so much. No, no, my dear lady, not a word.' 

' Then why should you frighten me so ? ' she said, sitting down 
again with a flutter at her heart, but a faint smile ; ' you gave me 
a great fright. I thought you must have heard something that 
had been concealed from me.' 

1 Not at all, not at all,' said the old man. ' I'm very glad 
you're not uneasy. Still it is a bad practice when they get to stay 
so long from home. I'd look him up if I were you.' 

' Do you know anything I don't know ? ' she said with a re- 
currence of her first fear. 

* No, no ! ' he cried ' nothing, nothing, I know nothing ; but 
I don't think Landon should be so long absent. That's all ; I'd 
look him up if I were you.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOMD. 17 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon did not enjoy the ball that night. For some 
time indeed she hesitated about going. But Milly and Horace 
were much startled by this idea, and assailed her with questions 
What had she heard ? Was papa ill ? Had anything happened ? 
She was obliged to confess that nothing had happened, that she 
had heard nothing, but that old Fareham thought papa should 
not be so long away, and had asked if she were not uneasy about 
his health. What if he should be ill and concealing it from 
them ? The children paled a little, then burst forth almost 
with laughter. Papa conceal it from them ! he who always wanted 
so much taking care of when he was poorly. And why should he 
conceal it ? This was quite unanswerable : for to be sure there was 
no reason in the world why he should not let his wife know, who 
would have gone- to him at once, without an hour's delay. So they 
went to the ball, and spent the night in Liverpool, and next 
morning remembered nothing save that old Fareham was always 
disagreeable. ' If he knew your father's real object in spending so 
much time in London ! ' Mrs. Lycett-Landon said. It was her hus- 
band's generous wish to keep this anxiety from the old man ; and 
how little such generous motives are appreciated in this world. 
It was evening before they returned home for of course with so 
large a family there is always shopping to do, and the ladies 
waited till Horace left the office. But when they reached the 
Elms, as their house was called, there was a letter waiting which 
was not comfortable. It was directed in a hand which they could 
scarcely identify as papa's ; not from his club as usual, nor on the 
office paper with no date but London. And this was what it 
said. 

' My dear, you must -not be disappointed if I write only a few 
words. I have hurt my hand, which makes writing uncomfortable. 
It is not of the least importance, and you need not be uneasy : 
but accept the explanation if it should happen to be some days 
before you hear from me again. Love to the children. 

' Yours affectionately, 

< E. L. L.' 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon grew pale as she read this note. ' I see it 
all,' she said ; ' there has been an accident, and Mr. Fareham did 
not like to tell me of it. Horace, where is the book of the trains ? 
I must go at once. Eun, Milly, and put up a few things for me in 
my travelling bag.' 



18 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

' What is it, mother ? Hurt his hand ? Oh, but that is not 
much,' Horace said. 

' It is not much perhaps : but to be so careful lest I should be 
anxious is not papa's way. " If it should happen to be some days- 
Why it is ten days since he wrote last. I am very anxious. Horry, 
my dear, don't talk to me, but go and see about the trains at 
once.' 

* I know very well about the trains,' said Horace. * There is 
one at ten, but then it arrives in the middle of the night. Stop 
at all events till to-morrow morning. I will telegraph.' 

'I am going by that ten train,' his mother said. 

' Which arrives between three and four in the morning ! ' 

' Never mind, I can go to tlie Euston, where papa always goes. 
Perhaps I shall find him there. He has never s^iid where he was 
living.' 

4 You may be sure,' said Horace, * you will not find him at 
the Euston. No doubt he is in the old place in Jermyn Street. 
He only goes to the Euston when he is up for a day or two.' 

' I shall find him easily enough,' Mrs. Lycett-Landon said. 

And then a little bustle and commotion ensued. Dinner was 
had which nobody could eat, though they all said it was probably 
nothing, and that papa would laugh when he knew the disturbance 
his letter had made. At least the children said this, their mother 
making little reply. Milly thought he would be much surprised 
to see mamma arrive in the early morning. He would like it, 
Milly thought. Papa was always disposed to find his own ail- 
ments very important, and thought it natural to make a fuss 
about them. She wanted to accompany her mother, but con- 
sented, not without a sense of dignity, that it was more necessary 
she should stay at home to look after the children and the 
house. But Horace insisted that he must go ; and ihough Mrs. 
Lycett-Landon had a strange disinclination to this which she 
herself could not understand, it seemed on the whole so . right 
and natural, that she could not stand out against it. ' There is no 
occasion,' she said. 1 1 can look after myself quite well, and your 
father too.' But Horace refused to hear reason, and Milly in- 
quired what was the good of having a grown-up son if you did 
not make any use of him ? Their minds were so free, that they both 
tittered a little at this, the title of grown-up son being unfamiliar 
and half absurd in Milly's intention at least. She walked down 
with them to the boat in the soft summer night. The world was 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 19 

all aglow with softened lights, the moon in the sky, the lamps on 
the opposite bank reflecting themselves in long lines in the still 
water, and every dim vessel in the roadway throwing up its little 
sea-star of colour. ' I shouldn't wonder,' said Milly, * if it is a 
touch of the gout, like that he had last year, and no accident at 
all.' 

* So much the more need for good nursing,' her mother said, 
as she stepped into the boat. 

Milly walked back again with Charley, her next brother, who 
was fifteen. They went up to the summer-house among the trees 
and watched the boat as it went rustling, bustling through the 
groups of shipping in the river, and made little bets between 
themselves as to whether it would beat the Birkenhead boat, or 
if the Seacombe would get there first of all. There were not so 
many ferryboats as usual at this hour of the night, but one or 
two were returning both up and down the river which had been 
out with pleasure parties, with music sounding softly on the 
water. * It is only that horrid old fiddle if we were near it,' said 
Milly, * but it sounds quite melodious here,' for the soft night 
and the summer air, and the influence of the great water, made 
everything mellow. The doors and windows of the happy house 
were still all open. It was full of sleeping children and comfort- 
able servants, and life and peace, though the master and the mis- 
tress were both away. 



CHAPTER IV. 

GOING TO LOOK HIM UP. 

THEY reached London in the dawn of the morning, when the 
blue day was coming in over the housetops, before the ordi- 
nary stir of the waking world had begun. Of course, at that 
early hour it was impossible to do anything save to take refuge 
in the big hotel, and try to rest a little till it should be time for 
further proceedings. They found at once from the sleepy waiter 
who received them that Mr. Lycett-Landon was not there. He 
remembered the gentleman ; but they hadn't seen him not since 
last summer, the man said. 

' I told you so, mamma,' said Horace ; * he is in Jermyn Street, 
of course. If he had been anywhere else, he would have put the 
address.' 



20 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

They drove together to Jermyn Street as soon as it was prac- 
ticable, but he was not there ; and the landlord of the house 
returned the same answer that the waiter at the Euston had done. 
Not since last summer, he said. He had been wondering in his own 
mind what had become of Mr. Lycett-Landon, and asking himself 
if the rooms or the cooking had not given satisfaction ? It was a 
thing that had never happened to him with any of his gentlemen, 
but he had been wondering, he allowed, if there was anything 
He would have been pleased to make any alteration had he but 
known. Mrs. Lycett-Landon and her son looked at each other 
somewhat blankly as they turned away from this door. She 
smiled and said, ' It is rather funny that we should have to hunt 
your father in this way. One would think his movements would 
be well enough known. But I suppose it's this horrid London.' 
She was a little angry and hurt at the horrid London which takes 
no particular note even of a merchant of high standing. In Liver- 
pool he could not have been lost sight of, and even here it was 
ridiculous, a thing scarcely to be put up with. 

4 Oh, we'll soon find him at the club,' Horace said, and they 
drove there accordingly, more indignant than anxious. It was still 
early, and the club servants had scarcely taken the trouble to wake 
up as yet. Club porters are not fond of giving addresses, know- 
ing how uncertain it is whether a gentleman may wish to be pur- 
sued to their last stronghold. The porter in the present instance 
hesitated much. He said Mr. Lycett-Landon had not been there 
for some time ; that there was a heap of letters for him, which he 
took out of a pigeon-hole and turned over in his hands as he spoke, 
and among which Horace (with a jump of his heart) thought he 
could see some of his mother's ; but nothing had been said 
about forwarding them, and he really couldn't take upon himself 
to say that he knowed the address. 

' But I'm his son,' said Horace. 

The porter looked at him very knowingly. * That don't 
make me none the wiser, sir,' he said with great reason. 

The youth went out to his mother somewhat aghast. ' They 
don't know anything of him here,' he said ; ' they say he hasn't 
been for long. There's quite a pile of letters for him.' 

* Then we must go to the office,' Mrs. Lycett-Landon said. 
* He must have been very busy, or or something.' 

That was an assertion which no one could dispute. "When the 
cab drove off again she repeated the former speech with an angry 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 21 

laugh. * It is ridiculous, Horace, that you and I should have to 
run about like this from pillar to post, as if papa could slip out of 
sight like a like a mere clerk.' The mercantile world does not 
make much account of clerks, and she did not feel that she could 
find anything stronger to say. 

* Nobody would believe it,' said Horace, * if we were to tell 
them ; but in the City it will be different,' he added gravely. 

In Liverpool it must be allowed the City was not thought 
very much of. It had not the same prestige as the great mercan- 
tile town of the north. The merchant princes were considered to 
belong to the seaports, and the magnates of the City had an 
odour of city feasts and vulgarity about them ; but in the present 
circumstances it had other attractions. 

' The name of Lycett-Landon can't be unknown there,' said 
the lad. 

His mother was wounded even by this assertion. She drew 
herself up. * A Lycett-Landon has no right to be unknown any- 
where,' she said. * We don't need to take our importance from 
any firm, I hope. But London is insufferable ; nobody is anybody 
that comes from what they are pleased to call the country 
"here."' 

There was an indignant tone in Mrs. Lycett-Landon's voice. 
But yet she too felt, though she would not acknowledge it, that 
for once the City would be the most congenial. They drove along 
through the crowded, noisy streets in a hansom, feeling, after all, 
a little more at home among people who were evidently going 
to business as the men did in their own town. The sight of a 
well-brushed, well-washed, gold-chained commercial magnate in 
a white waistcoat with a rose in his buttonhole did them good. 
And thus they arrived at ' the office,' that one home-like spot amid 
all the desert of unaccustomed streets. 

' Perhaps,' the mother said, * we shall find him here, ready to 
laugh at us for this ridiculous expedition.' 

( Well, I hope not,' said Horace, ' for he will be angry. Papa 
doesn't like to be looked after.' 

This speech chilled Mrs. Lycett-Landon a little : for it was 
quite true, and for her part she was not a woman who liked to be 
found fault with on account of silly curiosity. As a matter of 
fact few women do. So that it was with a little check to their 
eagerness that they got out at the office door among all the press 
of people coming to their daily labour. Horace, though he had 



22 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. ' 

been intended to work there, scarcely knew the place ; and his 
mother, though she had driven down three or four times to pick 
up her husband on the occasions when they were in town toge- 
ther, was but little better acquainted with it. And the clerks 
did not at all recognise these very unlikely visitors. Ladies 
appeared very seldom at the office, and at this early hour never. 

'Your father, of course, would not be here so early,' Mrs. 
Lycett-Landon said as they went upstairs ; * and I don't suppose 
young Mr. Fareham either is the sort of person but we must ask 
for Mr. Fareham.' 

Kemembering all that her husband had said, she did not in 
the least expect to find that young representative of the house. 
How curious it was to wait until she had been inspected by the 
clerk, to be asked who she was, to be requested to take a seat, till 
it was known if Mr. Fareham was disengaged ! An impulse which 
she could scarcely explain restrained her from giving her name, 
which would at once have gained her all the respect she could have 
desired : and for the first time in her life Mrs. Lycett-Landon 
realised what it must be to come as a poor petitioner to such a 
place. The clerks made their observations on her and her son 
behind their glass screen. They decided that she must want a 
place in the office for the young fellow, but that Fareham would 
soon give her her answer. These young men did not think much 
of the personal appearance of Horace, who was clearly from the 
country ; a lanky youth whom it would be difficult to make any- 
thing of. Their consternation was extreme when young Mr. Fare- 
ham, coming out somewhat superciliously to see who wanted him, 
exclaimed suddenly, ' Mrs. Landon ! ' and went forward holding 
out his hands. ' If I had known it was you ! ' he said. * I hope I 
have not kept you waiting. But some mistake must have been 
made, for I was not told your name.' 

' It was no mistake,' she said, looking graciously at the young 
clerk, who stood by very nervous and abashed. ' I did not give 
my name. We shall not detain you a moment, we only want an 
address.' 

While she spoke she had time to remark the perfectly correct 
and orthodox appearance of young Fareham, of whom it was 
almost impossible to believe that he had ever committed an 
irregularity of any description in the course of his life. He led 
the way into his room with all the respect which was due to the 
wife of the chief partner, and gave her a chair. * My time is 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 23 

entirely at your service,' he said ; ' too glad to be able to be of any 
use.' 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon sat down, and then there ensued a moment 
of such embarrassment as perhaps in all her life she had never 
known before. There was a certain surprise in the air with which 
he regarded her, and not the slightest appearance of any idea 
what she could possibly want him for at this time in the morning. 
And somehow this surprised unconsciousness on his part brought 
the most curious painful consciousness to her. She was silent ; 
she looked at him with a kind of blank appeal. She half rose 
again to go away without putting her question. She seemed to be 
on the eve of a betrayal, of a family exposure. How foolish it 
was ! She looked at Horace's easy-minded, tranquil countenance 
and took courage. 

' Do you expect,' she said, ' Mr. Landon here to-day ? ' with a 
smile, yet a catch of her breath. 

' Mr. Landon ! ' The astonishment of young Fareham was 
extreme. ' Is he in town ? We have not seen him since May.' 

'Horace,' said Mrs. Lycett-Landon, half rising from her chair 
and then falling back upon it. * Horace, your father must be very 
ill. He must have had some operation he must have thought 
I would be over-anxious ' 

She became very pale as she uttered these broken words, and 
looked as if she were going to faint ; and Horace, too, stared with 
bewildered eyes. Young Fareham began to be alarmed. He 
saw that his quick response was altogether unexpected, and that 
there was evidently some mystery. 

* Let me see,' he said, appearing to ponder, * perhaps I am 
making a mistake. Yes, I am sure he was here in May, he had 
just come back from the Continent. Wasn't it so ? Oh, then, I 

must have misunderstood him. I thought he said Now I 

remember, he certainly was here in town. Yes, came to tell me 
something about letters what was it ? ' 

' Perhaps where you were to send his letters,' Mrs. Landon said 
quickly. ' That is what we want to know.' While she was listen- 
ing to him, her mind had been going through a great many ques- 
tions, and she had brought herself summarily back to calm. If 
it should be serious illness, all her strength would be wanted. 
She must not waste her forces with foolish fainting or giving in, 
but husband them all. 

Then there arose an inquiry in the office. One clerk after 



24 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

another was called in to be questioned. One said Mr. Lycett- 
Landon's letters were all forwarded to the Liverpool house, or to 
the Elms, Eockferry, his private address ; another that they 
were sent to the club ; and it was not till some time had been 
lost that one of the youngest remembered an address to which 
he had once been sent, to a lodging where Mr. Landon was stay- 
ing. He remembered all about it, for it was a pretty house, with 
a garden, very unlike Jermyn Street. 

* It was just after Mr. Landon came back from abroad,' the 
youth said ; and by degrees he remembered exactly where it was, 
and brought it written down, in a neat, clerkly hand, on an office 
envelope. It was a flowery address, a villa in a road, both of them 
fanciful with a cockney sentiment. 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon took the paper from him with a smile of 
thanks ; but she was so bewildered and confused that she rose up 
and went out of the office without even saying good-morning to 
young Fareham. 

* Mamma, mamma,' cried Horace after her, * you have never 
said ' 

' Oh, don't trouble her,' said young Fareham, ' I can see she 
is anxious. You'll come back, won't you, and let me know if 
you've found him ? But I hope there is some mistake.' 

He did not say what kind of mistake he hoped for, nor did 
Horace say anything as he followed his mother. He, like Milly, 
thought it impossible that papa would have hidden himself thus 
to be ill. He was a little nervous of speaking to his mother 
when he saw how pale and preoccupied she looked. 

' Shall I call a cab ? ' he said. * Mother, do you really think 
there is so much to fear ? ' 

'He has never been on the Continent,' was all his mother 
could say. 

' No ; that's true. They just have got that into their heads. 
It was no business of theirs where he went.' 

'It is everybody's business where a man goes a man like 
him. I think I know what it is, Horace. He has been fretful for 
some time, and restless ; he must have been ill, and he has been 
going through an operation. Don't say anything ; I feel sure of 
it. Perhaps there was danger in it, and he feared the fuss, and 
that I should be over anxious.' 

* We always thought as children that papa liked to be made a 
fuss with,' said simple Horace. 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 25 

* You thought so in the nursery, because you liked it your- 
selves. Yes, we had better have a cab. How full the streets are ! 
one cannot hear oneself talking.' 

Then she was silent a little till the hansom was called. It was 
a very noisy part of the City, where the traffic is continual, and it 
was very difficult to hear a woman's voice. She paused before she 
got into the cab. 

4 Now I think of it,' she said, ' you had better go and telegraph 
to Milly, for she will be anxious. Gro back to the hotel and do it. 
Tell her that we have got to town all safe, and that you will send 
her word this evening how papa is.' 

' But, mother, you are not going without me ! and it will be 
better to telegraph after we know.' 

'That is what I wish you to do, Horace. It might upset him. 
I think it a great deal better for me to go by myself. Just do 
what I tell you. Milly will want to know that we have arrived 
all right; and wait at the hotel till I send for you.' 

* You had much better let me come with you, mother.' 

The noise was so great that she only made a * No ' with her 
mouth, shaking her head as she got into the cab, and gave him 
the address to show the cabman. Then, before Horace had 
awakened from his surprise, she was gon e, and he was left, feeling 
very solitary, pushed about by all the passers-by upon the pavement. 
The youth was half angry, half astonished. To go back to the 
hotel was not a thing that tempted him, but he was so young that 
he obeyed by instinct, meaning to pour forth his indignation to 
Milly. Even in a telegram there is a possibility of easing one's 
heart. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE HOUSE WITH THE FLOWERY NAME. 

MRS. LYCETT-LANDON drove off through the crowded City streets 
in a curious trace of excited feeling. She had a sense that some- 
thing was going to happen to her ; but how this was she could 
not have told. Nor could she have told why it was she had sent 
Horace away. Perhaps his father might not wish to see him, 
perhaps he might prefer to explain to her alone the cause of his 
absence. She felt the need of first seeing her husband alone, 
though she could not tell why. It was a very long drive. Out 
VOL. VI. NO. 31, N.S. 2 



26 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

of the bustling City streets she came to streets more showy, less 
encumbered, though perhaps scarcely less crowded, and then to 
some which showed the lateness of the season by shut-up houses 
and diminished movement, and then to line after line of those 
dingy streets, all exactly like each other, which form the bulk of 
London. There are so many of them, and they are so indistin- 
guishable. She looked out of the hansom and noted them all as 
she drove on but yet as if she noted them not, as if it were they 
that glided by her, as in a dream. Then she reached the suburbs, 
the roads with the flowery names, houses buried in gardens, with 
trees appearing behind the high enclosing walls. This perhaps 
was the strangest of all. She could not think what he could 
want here, so far out of the world, until she recalled to herself 
the idea of an illness and an operation which had already faded 
out of her mind for that, like every other explanation, was so 
strange, so much unlike all his habits. Her heart began to beat 
as the cab turned into the street, going slowly along to look for 
the special house, and she found herself on the point of arriving 
at her destination. Though she was so anxious to find her hus- 
band, she would now, if she could, have deferred the arrival, have 
called out to the driver that it was not here, and bidden him go on 
and on. But there could not be any mistake about it there was the 
name of the house painted on the gate. It was a little gate in a 
wall, affording a glimpse of a pretty little garden shaded with 
trees inside. She would not let the cabman ring the bell, but got 
out first and paid him, and then, when she could not find any 
further excuse, rang it- so faintly at first that no sound followed. 
She waited, though she knew she could not have been heard, to 
leave time for an answer. Looking in under the little arch of roses 
to the smooth bit of lawn, the flowers in the borders, she said to 
herself that there was not very much taste displayed in the flowers 
red geraniums and mignonette, the things that everybody had, 
and great yellow nasturtiums clustering behind not very much 
taste or individuality, but yet a great deal of brightness, and the 
look as of a home ; not lodgings, but a place where people lived. 
There were some garden-chairs about, and on a rustic table some- 
thing that looked like a woman's work. How natural it all 
seemed, how peaceable ! It was curious that he should be living 
in such a place. Perhaps, she said to herself, it was the house of 
some clerk of the better sort some one who had known him in his 
early years, and had wished to be kind : and in good air, and out 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 27 

of the noise of the streets. She made all these explanations as she 
stood at the door waiting for some one to answer a ring which she 
knew very well could not have been heard unable to understand 
her own strange pause, and the manner in which she dallied with 
her anxiety. But this could not last for ever. After she had 
waited more than the needful time she rang again, and presently 
the door was opened by an unseen spring, and she went in within 
the pretty enclosure. How pretty it was only red geraniums and 
nasturtiums, it was true, but the soft odour of the mignonette, 
and the sunshine, and the silence all so peaceful and so calm. 
There came over her a certain awe as she stepped across the 
threshold and closed behind her the garden-door. The windows 
were all open, the house-door open. Under the trees on the little 
lawn were two basket chairs, and a white heap of muslin, which 
some woman must have been working at, on the table. Mrs. 
Lycett-Landon felt like an intruder in this peaceful place. She 
said to herself at last that there must be some mistake, that it 
could not be here. 

A housemaid, wiping her arms on her apron, came to the 
house-door a round-faced, ruddy, wholesome young woman, just 
the sort of servant for such a place. No doubt there were two, 
cook and housemaid, the visitor said to herself, just enough for 
needful service. The young woman was smiling and pleasant, no 
forbidding guardian. She did not advance to meet the stranger, 
but stood waiting, holding her own place in the doorway. Her 
honest, open face confirmed the expression of peace and comfort 
that was about the house. The intruder came up softly, not able 
to divest herself of that sense of awe. 

1 Does Mr. Lycett-Landon live here ? ' she said, almost under 
her breath. 

* Yes, ma'am, but he's rather poorly this morning,' the house- 
maid said. 

' He is at home then ? Will you take me to him, please 

' Oh, I don't think I can do that, ma'am. He's rather poorly ; 
he's keeping his room. The doctor don't think that it's anything 
serious, but as master is not quite a young gentleman he says it's 
best to be on the safe side.' 

' Is Mr. Lycett-Landon your master ? ' 

' Yes, ma'am,' with a little curtsey. 

' Has he been ill long ? ' 

' Oh, bless you, not at all. He has his 'ealth as well as could 

22 



28 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

be wished; only a little bilious or that now and then, as gentlemen 
will be. They ain't so careful in what they eat and drink as 
ladies that's what I always say.' 

' He is only bilious then not ill ? not long ill ? there has 
been no operation ? ' 

' Oh, bless you, nothing of the sort ! ' the young woman said 
with the most evident astonishment. 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon put all these questions in a kind of dream. 
Something kept her from saying who she was. She felt a curious 
anxiety to find out all the details before she announced herself. 

1 1 think he will see me,' she said, a little faintly. ' I have 
come a long way to see him. Take me to him, please.' 

'Is it business, ma'am? ' said the girl. 

* Business ? yes ; you may say it is business. I am his . 

Take me to him at once, please.' 

' Oh dear, I can't do that. I ask your pardon, but the last 
thing the doctor said was that he mustn't be troubled with no 
business.' 

* But I must see him,' Mrs. Lycett-Landon said. 

' You can't, ma'am, not to-day it's not possible. To be sure,' 
the girl added with a pleasant smile, ' if Mrs. Landon would do as 
well.' 

* Mrs. , whom ? ' 

1 Mrs. Landon Mrs. Lycett-Landon, that's her full name. Oh, 
didn't you know as he was married ? She'll be down in a moment 
if you'll step inside.' 

The woman outside the door felt herself turned to stone. She 
said faintly, 'Yes, I think I will step inside.' 

' Do, ma'am : you don't look at all well ; you've been standing 
in the sun. Missis will be fine and angry if she knows as I let 
you stand like that. Take a chair, ma'am, please. She'll be here 
in a moment,' the cheerful maid-servant said. 

She did not ask for the visitor's name she was evidently not 
accustomed to visits of ceremony but went upstairs quickly, with 
her solid foot sounding on every step. 

The visitor for her part sat down, not feeling able to keep upon 
her feet, and faintly looked round her, seeing everything, under- 
standing nothing. What did it all mean? The room was fur- 
nished like that of a newly-married pair. Little decorations were 
about, newly-bound books, a new little desk all ormolu and velvet ; 
albums, photograph-frames, trifles from Switzerland, carved and 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 29 

painted, like relics of a recent journey. Nothing was in absolute 
bad taste, but the fashion of the furnishing was not of the larger 
kind, which means wealth. It was slightly pretty, perhaps a little 
tawdry, yet not sufficiently worn to acquire that look as yet. 
Mingled with all this decoration, however, there was something 
else which had a curious effect upon the intruder, something that 
reminded her of her husband's library at home, a chair of the form 
he liked, a solid table or two, strangely out of place amid the little 
low sofas and 6tageres. She saw all this, and took it into her mind 
at a glance, without making any of these observations upon it. 
She made no observations. She was unable even to think ; the 
maid's words went through her head without any will of hers 
' Didn't you know as he was married ? ' 'If Mrs. Landon would 
do as well.' Mrs. Landon ! Who was this that bore her own name 
who was the man upstairs? She was not in any hurry to be en- 
lightened. She seemed to herself rather grateful for the pause ; 
glad to hold off any discovery that there might be to make with 
both hands, to keep it at arm's length. She sat quite still in this 
strange room, not thinking or able to think, wondering what was 
about to happen what strange thing was coming to her. 

At last she heard a footstep, a light step very different from 
the maid's, coming downstairs. She rose up instinctively and 
took hold of the back of a chair to support herself. The door 
opened, and a young woman, pretty, timid, tall, in a white flowing 
gown, with a little cap upon her dark hair, and a pair of appeal- 
ing eyes, came in. She had an uncertain look, as if not wholly 
accustomed to her position. She said with a pretty blush and 
shyness, 'They tell me that you want to see my husband on 
business but he is not well enough for business. Is it anything 
that I could do ? ' 

' Will you tell me who you are ? ' 

The new comer looked a little surprised at the voice, which 
was hoarse and unnatural, of her visitor. She answered with a 
little dignity, drawing up her slight young figure. * I am Mrs. 
Lycett-Landon,' she said. 

{To be continued.) 



30 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

IT has been said by Wendell Holmes that every man has in him 
one good novel, if he could but manage to write it. Most men 
leave their novel carefully unwritten. It has not yet been 
noticed, we think, that even those novelists whose variety of 
conception strikes us as their most remarkable quality have 
usually had one favourite idea^ which reappears again and again, 
even in the texture of works otherwise most varied in structure. 
For- example, even Sir Walter Scott has his favourite theme, 
which sometimes is the chief feature of the story, at other times 
occupies quite a subordinate position, but is nearly always present 
in one form or another. Scott's favourite idea, brought in so 
often that but for his marvellous skill in clothing it in ever- 
varying garb it would have become wearisome, is to present the 
youthful hero of his plot as a young and inexperienced man, 
treated by the older characters as little more than a boy, often 
their unconscious agent in important political plots, occasionally 
looked down upon by the heroine herself (who knows more of 
such plans and takes a more leading part in carrying them out 
than the hero of the story), but showing himself worthier, or at 
least manlier, than his elders had imagined him to be. Scott 
has not always, perhaps, contented us with his hero ; often 
another character is more interesting, as Fergus than Waverley, 
Bois Guilbert than Ivanhoe, Evandale than Morton; possibly 
because all Scott's heroes show the peculiarity we have described. 
In Edward Waverley we have the original of the type. In ' Guy 
Mannering' Harry Bertram never shakes off the manner of a 
very young man, whether with Meg Merrilies, the Dominie, Mr. 
Pleydell, or Colonel Mannering. Frank Osbaldistone, in ' Eob 
Eoy,' treated by his father as a mere boy, is afterwards a mere 
tool in the hands of older men. Even Die Vernon treats him till 
near the end as but an inexperienced lad. Lovell, in ' The 
Antiquary,' plays a similar part, alike with Monkbarns, with the 
Baronet, and with old Edie Ochiltree, and remains to the end 
unconscious of his real position, in regard both to his putative 
father and to Earl Geraldine. In Redgauntlet ' the plot of 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 31 

which, by the way, is not very interesting we have a hero similarly 
situated, and unconsciously taking part in a dangerous political 
plot. The hero of * The Black Dwarf ' is still more cavalierly 
treated, insomuch that no one, I imagine, takes the least interest 
in him. Young Arthur, in * Anne of Greierstein,' is a puppet in his 
father's hands to the end. The scenes between Quentin Durward 
and Louis XI. illustrate well Scott's favourite theme. But Dur- 
ward is also treated as a mere boy by Le Balafre, by Earl Craw- 
ford, and by Charles of Burgundy ; we note, too, that he is entirely 
unconscious of the part he is really playing in the journey to 
Liege. Ivanhoe is under Cedric's high displeasure till near the 
end of the story, and is as boyish a hero as Quentin Durward, de- 
spite the bravery they both show in the saddle. Henry Morton, 
with his uncle, with Dame Wilson, and afterwards with Balfour 
of Burley ; Halbert Glendinning, with the monks ; Julian Avenel, 
with Lady Avenel, and afterwards with Queen Mary and Catharine 
Seyton ; Harry Grow (and Conachar) with Simon ; Edgar Kavens- 
wood with the elder Ashton and Caleb Balderstone ; Tressilian, in 
* Kenilworth ' ; Monteith, in * The Legend of Montrose ' ; Merton, 
in ' The Pirate ' (with old Mordaunt, with Norna of the Fitful Head, 
and even with Minna and Brenda) and their father, all these are 
samples of Sir Walter Scott's favourite theme. It is the same 
with Damian, in ' The Betrothed ' ; with the Varangian, in ' Count 
Eobert of Paris'; with young Nigel, in 'The Fortunes of Nigel'; 
with Julian, in * Peveril of the Peak ' ; and with the Knight of the 
Leopard, in ' The Talisman.' Only one exception, and that rather 
apparent than real, can be mentioned the * Heart of Midlothian,' 
perhaps the finest of all Scott's novels : but this is a novel with- 
out a hero, or, rather, Jeanie Deans is both hero and heroine (for 
Keuben Butler can scarcely be considered a hero). Now, strangely 
enough, Jeanie, thus taking a double part, womanlike in her 
patience and goodness, manlike in her endurance and courage, 
illustrates Scott's pet theme (as obviously as Edward Waverley 
or Frank Osbaldistone) in the scenes with Staunton and Staunton's 
father, with the Duke of Argyll and Queen Caroline nay, even 
with Madge Wildfire. 

Dickens, a writer of another type, had also his favourite theme. 
So far as I know, the point has not yet been noticed ; but I think 
there can be no doubt that one special idea had more attraction 
for him than any other, and seemed to him the most effective 
leading idea for a plot. 



32 A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

The idea which, more than any other had a fascination for 
Dickens, and was apparently regarded by him as likely to be most 
potent in its influence on others, was that of a wrong-doer watched 
at every turn by one of whom he has no suspicion, for whom 
he even entertains a feeling of contempt. This characteristic, 
although, as I have said, it has been generally overlooked, is so 
marked that, so soon as attention is directed to it, men wonder it 
had not been noticed at once. 

Of course, in a story like * Pickwick,' started originally as a 
comic sporting tale, and only worked into a more serious form 
after the death of the sporting artist who was to have illustrated 
it, we should not expect to fino^any trace of an idea which Dickens 
valued chiefly for its effect in exciting tragic emotions. We 
have only to consider how he worked this idea to see how unsuit- 
able it would have been in such a novel as ' Pickwick ' if, in- 
deed, * Pickwick ' can be called a novel. 

But in two out of the first four novels which Dickens wrote 
we find this idea of patient watching even to death or doom 
a marked feature of the story. In * Barnaby Kudge ' Haredale 
steadily waits and watches for Rudge, till, after more than twenty 
years, 'at last, at last,' as he cries, he captures his brother's 
murderer on the very spot where the murder had been committed. 
In this case, too, it is to be noticed that Rudge has been supposed 
to be dead during all the years of Haredale's watch ; and this was 
so important a part of Dickens's conception that he makes Hare- 
dale speak of it, even in the fierce rush in which he seizes Rudge. 
* Villain ! ' he says, ' dead and buried, as all men supposed, through 
your infernal arts, but reserved by heaven for this.' It became 
a favourite idea of Dickens to associate the thought of death 
either with the watcher or the watched ; and, unless I mistake, 
in the final and finest development of his favourite theme, he 
made one ' dead and buried as all men supposed ' watch the 
very man who supposed him dead, and not only buried but de- 
stroyed. 

In ' Nicholas Nickleby ' it is the untiring enmity of Brooker, 
not the work of those he chiefly dreads, which drives Ralph Nickleby 
to self-murder. ' Ralph had no reason,' we are told, ' that he 
knew, to fear this man ; he had never feared him before ; ' but 
he trembles when Brooker comes forth from the darkness in 
which he had been concealed, and confronts him to tell the 
story which is to be as the doom of death to him. 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 33 

In the other two of these first four works ' Oliver Twist ' and 
* The Old Curiosity Shop ' we find less marked use of Dickens's 
favourite idea, though it is not wholly absent from either work. 
In ' The Old Curiosity Shop,' the two Brass scamps (to include 
that ' old fellow,' Miss Sally Brass, in the term) are watched by 
the despised Marchioness, and it is by her their powerless victim, 
as they supposed that their detection is brought about. * Oliver 
Twist ' was written specially to attack the workhouse system in 
England, and other ideas gave place to that leading one. 

In Dickens's next novel the idea is further developed. In 
passing, I note that naturally the idea could never be presented 
twice in the same precise form. It is indeed wonderful how many 
changes Dickens was able to ring on this general notion of an 
untiring watch kept on one not suspecting that he was watched, 
and least of all that he was watched by the man who was really 
holding his ways and doings constantly in view. In 'Martin 
Chuzzlewit ' the two chief villains of the story, Jonas Chuzzlewit, 
the murderer (perhaps the most shadowy murderer ever pictured 
by novelist), and Pecksniff, the hypocrite, are both watched in 
the melodramatic way that Dickens loved. Jonas has no fear of 
Nadgett, and, indeed, never suspects that Tom Pinch's silent 
landlord is watching him at all. All his thoughts are directed 
towards Montague Tigg. To see how Dickens delighted in the 
idea I am considering, we have only to notice the way in which 
he presents Jonas Chuzzlewit's thoughts when Nadgett denounces 
him. * I never watched a man so close as I have wat" hed him,' 
says Nadgett; and the thoughts of the frightened murderer 
shape themselves thus : ' Another of the phantom forms of this 
terrific truth ! Another of the many shapes in which it started 
up about him out of vacancy ! This man, of all men in the world, 
a spy upon him ; this man, changing his identity, casting off his 
shrinking, purblind, unobservant character, and springing up 
into a watchful enemy ! The dead man might have come out of 
his grave and not confounded and appalled him so.' Later, 
Dickens meant to have made use of this supreme horror, a dead 
man watching his murderer ; for note : Jonas thinks not of some 
dead man, but of the dead man whom he has murdered. We may 
observe also that Jonas Chuzzlewit, like the latest of Dickens's 
villains, is but a murderer in intent, and in the supposed achieve- 
ment of his purpose, at first ; he commits an actual murder to 
escape punishment for a supposed murder, as Jasper, in killing 

25 



34 A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

Neville Landless, was to be brought to death in trying to escape 
death ; probably, too, by self-slaughter, like Jonas. 

While Jonas is watched by Nadgett, whom he despises (' Old 
What's-his-name,' he calls him, ' looking as usual as if he wanted 
to skulk up the chimney ; of all the precious dummies in appearance 
that ever I saw, he's about the worst ; he's afraid of me, I think '), 
Pecksniff is watehed by one whom he regards as to all intents and 
purposes dead, who had lived in his house, < weak and sinking,' 
but who suddenly shows that he has been keen and resolute, 
' with watchful eye, vigorous hand on staff, and triumphal pur- 
pose in his figure.' 'I have lived in this house, Pinch,' says 
old Martin, * and had him fanning on me days and weeks and 
months ; I have suffered him to treat me as his tool and instru- 
ment ; I have undergone ten thousand times as much as I could 
have endured if I had been the miserable old man he took me 
for. I have had his base soul bare before me day by day, and 
have not betrayed myself. I never could have undergone such 
torture but for looking forward to this time. The time now 
drawing on will make amends for all, and I wouldn't have him 
die or hang himself for millions of golden pieces.' 

It is clear that the idea of patient watching to bring an evil- 
doer to justice must have been strong in Dickens's mind when he 
thus worked it into the warp of his most characteristic plots, and 
into both warp and woof of the work which was perhaps most 
characteristic of them all. That the theme is melodramatic and 
utterly unlike anything in real life makes this all the clearer. 
Probably no man that ever lived has been willing to devote 
months or years of his life to such a task as Dickens thus 
imagined ; but so much the more obvious is it that the idea was 
specially his own. 

In Dickens's next important work * Dombey and Son ' we do 
not find this characteristic idea in so marked a form. Yet it is 
present, and in more ways than one. Thus we find Dombey 
watched by Carker (whom he regards as a mere business manager 
for his great house), all his ways noted, and the ruin of his house 
wrought, by the man whom he considers so little worth noticing. 
But Carker himself in turn is tracked by those whom he regards 
as utterly contemptible old Mother Brown and her unhappy 
daughter. So again, in the pursuit of Carker by the man whom 
he has wronged and whom he despises, we have the same idt a, 
though in a changed form. The pursuit reminds one of a hideous 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 35 

dream, in which some enemy from whom we fly appears always at 
the moment when we imagine we have reached safety. * In the 
fever of his mortification and rage,' we are told, ' panic mastered 
him completely. He would gladly have encountered almost any 
risk rather than meet the man of whom, two hours ago, he had 
been utterly regardless. His fierce arrival, which he had never 
expected, the sound of his voice, their having been so near 
meeting face to face he would have braved out this ; but the 
springing of his mine upon himself seemed to have rent and 
shivered all his hardihood and self-reliance.' 

In ' David Copperfield,' which was in large degree autobio- 
graphical, we might have expected that the idea we are consider- 
ing would not present itself. Yet here also it is seen, and more 
than once. The plots of Uriah Heep are defeated by the 
close watch kept on him by Micawber, whom Heep thoroughly 
despises. Littimer, the ' second villain ' of the story, is brought 
to punishment, as one of his gaolers tells Copperfield, by the 
devotion of little Miss Mowcher, who, once on his track, follows 
him till he is in the toils, and finally aids in his capture. 

In ' Bleak House ' the interest of an important part of the 
story turns on a murder. Mystery is suggested, not so much by 
the question, ' Who is the murderer ? ' (about which no reader of 
average intelligence can have any doubt), but by doubts as to the 
way in which the murder has been committed and suspicion 
thrown on two innocent persons. Here, again, Dickens adopts his 
favourite idea. Mademoiselle Hortense spares no pains to bring 
the charge of murder on another, who is her enemy a theme 
which Dickens was to have wrought out more fully in his latest 
work. In her anxiety to throw suspicion on Lady Dedlock she 
loses sight of her own danger. If she has any fears, she certainly 
has none of the woman with whom she lodged. Yet this is 
where her real danger lies. This woman keeps watch upon her 
night and day. This woman had undertaken (' speaking to me,' 
says her husband, Inspector Bucket, < as well as she could on 
account of the sheet in her mouth ') ' that the murderess should 
do nothing without her knowledge, should be her prisoner 
without suspecting it, should no more escape from her than from 
death.' 

In ' Little Dorrit ' we find Dickens's favourite theme in a new 
aspect. I think the importance of this part of the rather 
bewildering plot of * Little Dorrit ' obtained less recognition 



36 A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

than Dickens intended. The murderous Rigaud-Blandois, or 
Blandois-Kigaud (as best suits his convenience), disguises himself 
as a much older man with white hair an idea which in a 
modified form was to reappear in Dickens's last novel. He is 
watched closely and patiently by the despised Cavaletto, the 
( contraband beast,' as Blandois calls him. ' It is necessary,' says 
Cavaletto, telling the story, ' to have patience. I have patience 
... I wait patientissamentally. I watch, I hide, until he walks 
and smokes. He is a soldier with grey hair. But ! ... he is 
also this man that you see.' What Dickens felt (or supposed) to 
be the effects of the sudden discovery that a watch of this sort 
had been kept is shown by the way in which even Rigaud- 
Blandois (whose chief characteristic, outside his villainy, is his 
coolness) blanches when he hears how Cavaletto had watched 
him so patientissamentally. ' White to the lips ' yet when he 
knows that his story is known, he 'faces it out with a bare face, 
as the infamous wretch he was.' 

The * Tale of Two Cities,' of course, turns wholly on the 
general idea which we have thus found in more or less important 
parts of Dickens's chief works. It is the undying hate, handed on 
from generation to generation, of the despised French peasantry 
a hate patiently waiting for vengeance, even on the innocent 
descendants of the feudal tyrants of old which brings about the 
series of events leading to the catastrophe. Dickens himself 
called attention to this point. The objection was raised that the 
feudal cruelties did not come sufficiently within the date of the 
action to justify his use of them. ' I had, of course, full knowledge,' 
he replied, * of the formal surrender of the feudal privileges ; ' but 
he had also sufficient knowledge of human nature, he went on to 
say, to know that hatreds which had been growing during twenty 
generations would not die out, or even perceptibly diminish, in 
the first few generations after their cause was removed nay, that 
even the direct effects of that evil cause would not quickly 
cease, and assuredly had not ceased when the French Revolution 
began. 1 

In ' Great Expectations ' the whole plot turns on two watchings, 
by men whom the watched persons despise. First, Magwitch 

1 In the ]ast chapter of the fourth volume of Alison's ' History of Europe ' (I 
refer to the first edition of twenty-one volumes, the form in which I read that 
light and elegant little work as a boy) this is very fully pointed out perhaps 
even somewhat too fully. 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 37 

keeps watch (and kindly ward, too, despised though he is) on 
Pip, whose disgust and horror when he learns who has been his 
unknown benefactor must be regarded as undoubtedly illustrating 
Dickens's favourite theme. But also the despised and thoroughly 
despicable Compeyson keeps patient and finally successful watch 
on his enemy Magwitch. The interest of the story culminates in 
the close of this long watch, the death of the watcher, and the 
mortal injury of the watched. A minor part of the action shows 
the same characteristic idea in the watch kept by Orlick, first on 
Mrs. Gargery, till he strikes her a death-blow, and then long and 
patiently on Pip, till finally he succeeds in inveigling him to the 
lonely place by the marshes, where he had intended that not only 
should Pip be slain, but destroyed from off the face of the earth. 
(Another villain was to have planned a similar end for his victim 
in Dickens's latest story.) 

Never surely had any leading idea been so thoroughly worked 
by a novelist as this pet theme of Dickens had been worked 
and overworked, one would have said in the stories I have dealt 
with. It would seem as though Dickens conceived that nothing 
could more impress and move his readers than the idea of 
patient, unsuspected watch kept by some one supposed either to 
be indifferent or insignificant or powerless or dead, that he thus 
used the idea in so many forms in his chief works up to the time 
when ' Great Expectations ' had appeared. It might be imagined 
that now at last he could feel it to be no longer available. The 
thought may indeed present itself that as a man advances in 
years his first notions become more and more his leading themes : 
yet it would seem as though Dickens could not, without repeating 
himself, make further use of his favourite idea. 

What, however, do we find ? In his next novel, * Our Mutual 
Friend,' Dickens takes ' as the leading incident for his story ' (I 
quote his own words) * the idea of a man, young and perhaps 
eccentric, feigning to be dead, and being dead to all intents and 
purposes external to himself.' He presents this man as keeping 
patient watch on more than one character, in this the most varied 
in colouring of all Dickens's novels. He shows him trying to 
recall the manner of his own death, in order that the reader 
may more fully recognise how thoroughly dead is this patiently 
watching man to all external to himself. ' I have no clue to the 
scene of my death,' he says ; ' not that it matters now.' ' It is a 
sensation not experienced by many mortals,' he adds, ' to be looking 



38 A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

into a churchyard on a wild, windy night, and to feel that I no 
more hold a place among the living than these dead do, and even 
to know that I lie buried as they lie buried ; nothing uses me to 
it ; a spirit that was once a man could hardly feel stranger or 
lonelier, going unrecognised among men, than I feel.' In his 
latest story Dickens meant to have brought out still more promi- 
nently the idea of a man, supposed to be dead, thus looking into 
the place where, to all intents and purposes external to himself, 
he lay dead, buried, and destroyed. 

Even this is not quite all, however. In ' No Thoroughfare ' 
(in the part written by Dickens) WQ have a man described as dead 
if it means anything to say that his * heart stood still ' (not 
momentarily, but during events that must have lasted many 
minutes) coming to life, and confronting the man who supposed 
he had murdered him. The circumstances of this supposed 
murder are akin, by the way, in two striking circumstances, to 
the supposed murder which was the real mystery of Dickens's last 
story. 

Again, in f Hunted Down ' we have a man whom the villain of 
the story supposes to be dying (as surely murdered by him as if 
he had slain him outright) turning out to be another man, 
disguised, who is not dying at all, but tracks Slinkton to his 
own death by self-murder, as it was to have been with the 
villain of Dickens's last story, and as it had been with so many of 
his earlier villains. 'You shall know,' says Meltham, speaking 
as Beckwith, ' for I hope the knowledge will be terrible and bitter 
to you, why you have been pursued by one man, and why you 
have been tracked to death at a single individual's charge. That 
man, Meltham, was as absolutely certain that you could never 
elude him in this world, if he devoted himself to your destruction 
with the utmost fidelity and earnestness, and if he divided this 
sacred duty with no other duty in life, as he was certain that 
in achieving it he would be a poor instrument in the hand of 
Providence, and would do well before Heaven in striking you out 
from among living men. I am that man, and I thank Grod that 
I have done my work.' 

Before passing to the last work of all, I may note here that 
Dickens himself noted among his ' subjects for stories ' a form of 
the theme we have been considering. ' Here is a fancy,' Forster 
says, * that I remember him to have been more than once bent 
upon using ; but the opportunity never came.' * Two men to be 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 39 

guarded against ' the words are Dickens's own now ' one whom 
I openly hold in some serious animosity, whom I am at the pains 
to wound and defy, and whom I estimate as worth wounding and 
defying ; the other, whom I treat as a sort of insect, and con- 
temptuously and pleasantly flick aside with my glove. But it 
turns out to be the latter who is the really dangerous man ; and 
when I expect the blow from the other it comes from him.' In 
a sort this idea was worked out in * The Mystery of Edwin 
Drood.' Here a young man, who seemed light and wayward, 
has been swept aside and is supposed to be dead, as an insect 
might be crushed. Jasper has no further thought of him ; but 
he plots serious measures against a man whom he holds in serious 
animosity, and whom he has been at the pains to wound and defy. 
But the fatal blow was to have come from the man who had 
seemed so wanting in purpose, the ' bright boy ' of the opening 
scenes. 

Every conceivable form of his favourite theme had now been 
tried, save that which Dickens had himself indicated as the most 
effective of all that the dead should rise from the grave to con- 
front his murderer. This idea was at length to be used, difficult 
though it seemed to work it out successfully. ' I have a very 
curious and new idea for my new story,' he wrote to Forster ; * not 
a communicable idea (or the interest of the book would be gone), 
but a very strong one, though difficult to work.' From what we 
know of Forster's restless inquisitiveness in regard to Dickens's 
plans, we learn without surprise that immediately after he had 
been told that the idea was not communicable he asked to have 
it communicated to him. Nor does it seem to have been regarded 
by Forster as at all strange that at once (his own words are ' im- 
mediately afterwards ') Dickens communicated to him the idea 
which had been described as ' incommunicable,' or that the new 
and curious idea should be both stale and commonplace nothing, 
in fact, but the oft-told tale of a murder detected by the presence 
of indestructible jewellery in lime into which the body of the 
murdered man had been flung. Forster's vanity blinded him in 
such sort that the patent artifice was not detected. Yet he asked 
where the originality of the idea came in. Dickens explained, 
he naively adds, that it was to consist ' in the review of the 
murderer's career by himself at the close, when its temptations 
were to be dwelt upon as if not he, the culprit, but some other 
man, were the tempted.' But of course, so far as this special 



40 A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 

feature was concerned, the idea had been already worked out in 
the * Madman's Manuscript ' in ' Pickwick,' and in the ' Clock-case 
Confession ' in ' Master Humphrey's Clock.' 

The real idea underlying ' The Mystery of Edwin Drood ' was 
a very striking and novel form of Dickens's favourite theme. But 
before showing this it may be well to make a few general remarks 
respecting this remarkable work. 

The usual idea about ' The Mystery of Edwin Drood ' has been 
that the novel was one of the dullest Dickens ever began. I 
remember hearing an eminent novelist say, in 1873, that, as part 
after part came out, he felt that ' Charles Dickens was gone, posi- 
tively gone ' just as the great dramatic critic in ' Nicholas 
Nickleby ' felt about the Shakespearian drama. Longfellow, how- 
ever, thought differently, and I take him to have been far and 
away the better judge. He thought that * The Mystery of Edwin 
Drood ' promised to be the finest work Dickens had written. That 
opinion, expressed within a few weeks of Dickens's death, led me 
to read a story which I had determined to avoid, as incomplete, 
and likely therefore to be tantalising in the reading ; and I have 
always felt grateful to the poet for thus sending me to read a 
work which, even though incomplete, is worth, to my mind, 
' Nicholas Nickleby ' and * Martin Chuzzlewit ' together. 

I take it that ' The Mystery of Edwin Drood ' is disliked chiefly 
because the idea presents itself to many readers that the plot 
really is formed on the commonplace and well-worn idea mentioned 
to Forster, and artfully suggested at every turn of the narrative. 
Longfellow, as a poet, felt the real meaning of the tones in which 
Dickens told that seemingly commonplace story, and heard be- 
neath them voices telling a story full of pathos and tragic force; 
To the ordinary reader ' Edwin Drood ' is merely the story of a 
murder, the murder of a wayward, careless young man. The very 
details of the murder seem clear. The reader knows, he thinks, 
how the murder is to be found out, whom the heroine and her 
friend are to marry, and how the murderer is to tell the story of 
his own crime as well as of his defeated attempt to bring about 
the death of the man he hates and fears. 

In such a story there is little of interest ; and the tone of the 
completed half of the book seems quite unsuited to the intrinsic 
insignificance of the narrative. Thus judged, ( Edwin Drood ' 
promised to be as worthless as many considered it. 

It was not of such a story, thus ill told, that Longfellow spoke 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 41 

with such enthusiasm. The real story is more mysterious, more 
terrible ; it is at once more pathetic and more humorous. 

How Dickens had proposed to explain in the denouement the 
details of Jasper's attack on Edwin, and subsequent attempt to 
destroy the body of his supposed victim, we do not know. But 
that Edwin Drood has been in some way saved from death 
(through the agency of Durdles, probably, though Durdles him- 
self, half drunk as usual at the time, knows little about it) is 
manifest to all who understand Dickens's ways. The very words 
by which he tries to convince us that Drood is dead show that 
Drood has not been killed. It is the ' bright boy ' who is never 
to be seen again. Drood lives ; and changed by a terrible shock 
from boyishness to manliness, Drood's carelessness towards Kosa 
is turned into earnest love. Moreover, Eosa knows that Drood is 
living, and is full of sorrow for him that she can give him but a 
sister's love. Rosa's sorrow for Edwin's hopeless love is so skil- 
fully veiled in the later chapters of the story, that it is mistaken 
by most readers for sorrow because Edwin is dead. But every 
tone shows that it is sorrow for the living. Every tone, too, of 
all that Drood says, when his thoughts dwell on his new-born 
love for Rosa, shows that he feels that love to be hopeless. 

All this must seem idle to those who imagine that Edwin is 
dead and therefore silent. The most careless reader, said Miss 
Meyrick in 'The Century,' can see that the idea that Edwin 
is alive is contradicted by Dickens himself in the story. Even 
so : Dickens so carefully contradicts this idea, that the careless 
reader, as Miss Meyrick shows, rejects it as out of the question. 
The careful reader forms another opinion, especially when he 
learns that Dickens had expressed his fear lest, with all his 
anxiety to keep his plot concealed, it had been disclosed for the 
keener-sighted. 

We might never have heard of the fear thus expressed were 
it not that a few hours afterwards Dickens was dead. Miss 
Hogarth naturally mentioned all that Dickens had said to her 
during those last few days. Forster's words are these : * Dickens 
had become,' he says, ' a little nervous about the course of the 
tale, from a fear that he might have plunged too soon into the 
incidents leading to the catastrophe, such as "the Datchery 
assumption" in the fifth number a misgiving he had certainly 
expressed to his sister-in-law.' Observe the words, ' the Datchery 
assumption,' and consider how much they mean. The character 



42 A NOVELISTS' FAVOURITE THEME. 

of the quaint, half-sad, half-humorous stranger is, then, an 
assumed one. That Datchery is disguised is of course obvious, 
even to Miss Meyrick's ' careless reader.' But the part is 
assumed, and the assumption is one which suggests the nature of 
the denouement. This, in reality, is telling the whole secret. 
For, passing over, as ' too cruel silly,' the idea that the genial yet 
sad and sympathetic Datchery might be Bazzard, Grewgious's dull 
and self-conceited clerk, there is no one else in the story who 
can have assumed the part of Datchery, except the man whom 
the careless reader will be the last to think of Edwin Drood 
himself. 

But in reality it needs no keenness of sight, but only a good 
ear for tone and voice, to show that Drood and Datchery are 
one. I venture to say that Longfellow did not need to have any 
external evidence to show that this is so. I do not know if Dr. 
Holmes has read Dickens's half-told tale, but I am confident that 
if he has, he will not have doubted for an instant that the man 
who talks to Princess Puffer as Edwin Drood, just before Drood 
disappears, is the same man, with the same feelings at work in 
his heart (in particular, the same sense of all he has thrown away 
by his own waywardness) as he who later talks to her at the same 
place as Datchery, in the assumed character of Datchery, ' an idle 
buffer living on his means.' We know even, as the music of the 
words is heard, that, in some instinctive way, the old opium- 
eater feels this. But we feel still more strongly that the same 
thought saddens the man that saddened the boy the thought of 
what-Eosa has become to him now he has released her from a 
foolish tie the thought how hopeless is his new-born love. The 
reader must be more than ' careless ' who does not feel that the 
half sad, half humorous Datchery of this conversation is Drood, 
moved by anxiety about the dangerous duty he has determined to 
fulfil, and by doubts as to what will follow. Who but Edwin 
himself would be so moved by thoughts of the Edwin of old, so 
stirred by sadness at the thought of some sacrifice past, so wistful 
at the thought that * the haven beyond the iron-bound coast 
might never be reached ' ? Dickens had indeed lost all his old 
power, his music had indeed become ' as sweet bells jangled, out 
of tune and harsh,' if the tender refrain heard so often in that 
last scene but one of the half-told story has no deeper meaning 
than the business meditations of a detective ! 

Those who love Dickens (with all his faults), but have not 



A NOVELIST'S FAVOURITE THEME. 43 

cared to read his unfinished story, or, having read it, have failed 
to note the delicate clue running through it, may find in the 
knowledge that Drood is saved from death to be his own avenger, 
all that they need to make * The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' in- 
complete though it is, one of the most interesting of Dickens's 
novels. All that we know of Dickens's favourite ideas, all that the 
story really tells us, all that is conveyed by the music of the 
descriptions, assures those who really understand Dickens that his 
favourite theme was to have been worked into this novel in 
striking and masterly fashion. Jasper was to have been tracked 
remorselessly to his death by the man whom he supposed he had 
slain. Eisen from the grave, Drood was to have driven Jasper to 
his tomb. Nay, we know from the remarkable picture which ap- 
peared on the outside of the original monthly numbers (a picture, 1 
be it remembered, which was designed before a line of the story 
was published), that Drood was to have forced Jasper to visit the 
very tomb where he thought that the dust of his victim lay there 
to find, alive and implacable, the man whom he had doomed to a 
sudden and terrible death. 

1 In this picture we see Edwin standing in the tomb as Jasper enters it, 
doubtless to seek for the jewelled ring, of which he would be told by Grewgious, 
purposely that he might be driven to that dreadful search. Grewgious obviously 
knew of Edwin's escape, from the tomb (witness the scene with Jasper, and 
Grewgious's subsequent seeming carelessness about the ring which we know to 
have been most precious in his eyes). It has been objected that it would have 
been cruel for Edwin and Grewgious to let Neville Landless remain under 
suspicion but Grewgious may very well have regarded this as a discipline much 
needed by Neville, and likely to be very beneficial in a young man of his fiery 
nature. The keen and kindly old man was evidently watching that no harm 
should come to Neville. 



44 



SAM AN ALA AND ITS SHADOW. 

FAR away in the mystic East there rises, high to the sun, a great 
natural altar at which, since the dawn of ages, man has, without 
ceasing, worshipped until now. Over the dark-eyed impassive 
people of that strange unalterable East ages flow and leave no 
mark ; hundreds of generations are born and pass away and no 
change is wrought amongst thejn. There is an awfulness in their 
steady immobility. Dynasties may rise and fall, governments 
may come and go, the name of their belief may be changed and 
little differences in ritual and service may spring up, but from 
aeon unto aeon the people are unchanged. It is the same life that 
they lead and the same things that they worship. 

Back, far back into the night of time, so far back that the very 
memory of those then living is irrevocably lost in the void of the 
forgotten past, the dark-skinned people, wandering naked and 
unashamed in the forest depths of the island of Ceylon, looked 
with wide eyes, in which the freshness and the wonder of the 
youth time of mankind still shone with the brightness of the 
dawn, upon Adam's Peak, the great solitary mountain rising, 
lonely in its grandeur and height, from the low hills around it and 
the sea of forest at its feet. Clouds capped its hoary summit, 
storms played around its heights, the very lightnings themselves, 
which they so dreaded and revered, seemed born amongst its 
great rocks and deep ravines, and gazing upon its sublimity in 
storm and upon its majesty in peace, they innocently wondered 
till wonder grew to worship. 

Since then through the times when, thousands of years ago, 
history first palely dawns on us against the impenetrable veil of 
the lost past until this day, in the later years, one steady stream 
of prayer and praise has gone up from the height of that great 
mountain altar. So many millions of men have breathed their 
hopes, desires, and aspirations there in the ear of the voiceless, if 
hearing, (rod, that one would almost think the air must be thick 
and stagnant with them. Nature's impassiveness and irrespon- 
siveness are terrible. One feels that if helpless to aid the 
groaning millions who through the long, long centuries have 



SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 45 

climbed her rocky flanks and scaled her wind-swept summit to 
reach a little nearer to the God who dwells in the aching blue 
above them the mountain, in sheer sorrow for their useless toil 
and grief, in pity for their wasted labour and their wasted prayer, 
should long ago have crumbled into dust and fragments. One 
can hardly help feeling a foolish exultation that in the end, no 
matter how far off it be, the very mountain itself must be thrown 
down and levelled with the plain. But there is a terror in 
this too. 

There is an ebb and flow on land as well as on the sea, a high 
tide and a low. If we substitute ages for seconds and vast periods of 
time for the hours of our day, which after all is but a question of 
degree, the very face of the solid earth itself will be found to 
fluctuate and change as does the surface of the sea. Plains rise 
and mountain ranges fall, seas are dried up and continents sub- 
merged with an undulation, one may almost say with an alteration 
and alternation that are as varied as the waves and flowing tides 
of the changeful sea itself. Grentle are the forces that make 
these changes ; no mighty cataclysms do this work ; soft and im- 
palpable touches of cloud hands and the gentle wearing of the 
summer rain are the agents of destruction ; but the impassivity of 
granite crags themselves must give way before their soft invinci- 
bility. Therein lies the terror of it. 

But to our short-sighted vision the great mountain looks 
eternal, its grand bell-shaped dome rises vast and blue above the 
mass of green forest that lies at its feet and encroaches far up its 
lordly sides ; and so slight have been the changes wrought upon 
its rocks by the wear and tear of four thousand years of storm, 
that the very paths to its sacred summit that were followed cen- 
turies before the beginning of the present era are worn by the 
feet of the weary pilgrims of to-day. There is a legend that the 
iron chains fastened to the walls of rock to give the pilgrims 
safety along the precipices of that last ' sky league ' were placed 
there in the time, and by the order, of Alexander. The links, 
though worn, are sound even yet. 

About a mountain such as this, beautiful in itself, long con- 
sidered to be the loftiest in all Ceylon, and holy, if only from the 
steady voice of four thousand years of prayer, legends are sure to 
gather cloudlike and thick. Adam's Peak is clothed from base 
to summit with one great robe of myth and fabled story. Not a 
rock but has its history, not a brook without its legend of worshipper 



46 SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 

or worshipped. Beneath this overhanging cliff Gautama Buddha 
slept, upon that dizzy height Buddha, in his second incarnation, 
prayed. 

Although specially sacred to Buddha, it is not only Buddhists 
who regard this mountain as a holy spot. Hindoos and Maho- 
medans respect and reverence it, as, too, did our own Christian 
peoples in earlier and simpler times than these. But although 
the whole mountain is regarded as holy by all oriental peoples, 
it is only the sacred footprint on the bold crag at the very summit 
that is actually worshipped. To perform a pilgrimage to this 
and to lay an offering upon it is to a Buddhist what a visit to 
Mecca is to a Mahomedan. The time for the greatest number of 
pilgrims to visit the mountain is April and May, but all the year 
round a steady stream of devotees flows to this shrine of the most 
holy of all the relics of their great teacher. 

The mountain is not very easy of access from the coast, and the 
ascent, though not difficult, is long and at times dangerous, so 
that it is not visited by Europeans as often as, from its interest, 
one might expect it to be. But it is well worth all the labour of 
the ascent, for not only is the shrine very curious and the whole 
mountain full of interest, but the view from the summit is one of 
the most extended and majestic in the whole world. It almost 
seems that all the earth is spread at one's feet, for one sees from 
sea to azure sea across the vast expanse of green tropical country. 
Hill and dale, broad valleys, and great plains covered with one 
dense growth of forest, with here and there stretches of low culti- 
vated lands of a lighter green ; rivers, like silver cords, wind in 
and out amongst the silent hills, and the eye can follow them, as 
they shine in the brilliant sunshine, till they are lost at last in 
the blue haze of the far horizon. 

The ascent is usually made from Colombo, which is about 
sixty miles from the foot of the Peak. After crossing a level and 
uninteresting country of cultivated ground, of rice-fields and 
cocoanut plantations, one plunges into the forest-grown and 
creeper-tangled ' Wilderness of the Peak,' where even now, in 
these days of destruction and so-called sport, great herds of elephants 
roam, and where the jungle still swarms with black leopards and wild 
boar. Some of the roads which lead through the wild forest to 
the foot of Samanala (Adam's Peak) are mere uneven tracks which 
are almost impassable after heavy rains, and difficult and unpleasant 
at all times, but the majesty and grandeur of the gigantic 



SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 47 

forest growth which surrounds one on all sides, and which is so 
thick and tangled overhead as to almost exclude the light of even 
the brightest tropical day, are enough to compensate the traveller 
for all he undergoes on his journey through it. Great masses 
of ruined masonry are often passed on these roads, melancholy 
witnesses of the splendour of the early empire, with here and 
there a stately column standing, on which is lavished a wealth of 
intricate decoration, to show where the stately pleasure-house of 
some great king once stood. Perhaps a huge ruin of brickwork, 
so vast that one almost doubts its human origin, now overgrown 
with a mass of great trees and brushwood, is all that is left of a 
once splendid and wealthy wihare, or, if it has been the shrine of 
some exceptionally valued relic of Gautama, there may be one old 
and withered priest still in charge of its ruined and desolate 
sanctity. Sometimes an enthusiast will consecrate himself to the 
labour of clearing one of these great ruined dagobas of the wild 
mass of vegetation which covers it, but clear it though he may, he 
does but arrest for a very short time its impending destruction. 

The extent and beauty of the architectural remains of the 
great ruined cities in the interior of Ceylon are known but to few. 
There are many of them, and all are full of archaeologic and 
artistic interest. The city of Anuradhapura, to instance only one 
of them, is in its way as wonderful as Pompeii or those great forest- 
grown cities of Central America. It is situated in a most lovely 
spot among the green valleys and wooded hills of the interior of 
the island, and whichever way the eye is cast there are ruins, 
wonderfully beautiful ruins, of shrines, dagobas, pavilions, wihares 
and groups of tall monolithic pillars carved from base to capital 
with a wondrous wealth of oriental imagery. For miles the forest 
is strewn with these majestic monuments of a long-since perished 
glory. So vast are some of these great brickwork buildings that it 
is reckoned that the material of one dagoba, of the several at 
Anuradhapura, would be sufficient to build a wall of more than 
ninety miles long, twelve feet high, and two feet thick. The 
enormous artificial tombs, too, of this city might almost be included 
amongst the wonders of the world, so vast are the great bunds 
(dams) that confine the waters, and so marvellous their construc- 
tion. They lie now embosomed in thick forest growth, and their 
shining waters are solitary but for the flocks of waterfowl upon 
them and the crocodiles which float lazily on the surface basking 
in the full glare of the vertical sun. The once busy banks are 



48 SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 

now deserted, except by the bands of chattering monkeys which 
haunt it by day, and by herds of darkness-loving elephants, which, 
at night time, leave the inner depths of the forest and come there 
to bathe and drink. But this is a mere digression, which may be 
excused, perhaps, by those who once have felt the awe and 
mystery, the sorrow and the wonder, which these great dead cities 
summon up. 

But to return to our mountain. The real ascent only begins 
after the ambulam at the foot of the Peak is reached. This 
ambulam (rest-house) has been built entirely for the convenience 
and shelter of the pilgrims constantly passing to and from the 
mountain, and one is almost? certain to come upon a party of 
devotees either preparing for the ascent of the Peak or resting in 
thankfulness upon their return from it. Strange groups of 
pilgrims collect in this rough place of shelter, of many nations 
and of many creeds, and of every age, from the child in arms to the 
worn and wrinkled grandparents whose tottering steps have to be 
assisted by the younger men. At times the worshippers are so old 
and weak that they have to be carried from base to summit, on 
chairs when possible, and * pick-a-back ' when the path becomes 
too steep for chairs to be carried along it. This ambulam is at the 
very edge of the jungle, and is a mere shed with open sides, but 
it afforded shelter to a large group of Kandyans and hill-country 
Singhalese who were preparing their food before they began the 
ascent. The rest-house was not very large and could not contain 
all the party, so that some of the pilgrims had been obliged to 
take advantage of a sort of little cave formed by a huge boulder 
which overhung the ground. Under this they were squatting, 
while some of their number were cooking the meal outside. 

A long line of happy pilgrims coming down from the sacred 
shrine, weary but full of enthusiasm, passed the ambulam ; when 
close to it they turned once more to the mountain, and raising 
their thin brown arms above their heads, they uttered their long- 
drawn ' Saadu, saddu." 1 This deep cry is their form of prayer, and 
corresponds somewhat to our own 'Amen.' The pilgrims are 
nearly always clad in spotless white, and to see them standing 
motionless in that great wilderness of dark forest and broken crag, 
with faces turned with passionate fervour to the holy peak, and 
arms stretched out in a perfect rapture of prayer, was a thing not 
easily to be forgotten. 

Stiff climbing begins almost directly after the ambulam is 



SAM AN ALA AND ITS SHADOW. 49 

left. The path, the only available one, is steep and very stony, 
no attempts having ever been made to improve it. After following 
this track for some distance a swift and beautiful stream of bright 
clear water, which breaks into numberless cascades as it dashes 
headlong down from the height, is crossed, and the dense silent forest 
is again plunged into 6n the other side. At almost every step 
the ascent seems to grow steeper and the road worse. The path, 
if it be not a misapplication of terms to use that word, is nothing 
better than a watercourse which has been worn by the constant 
rain of ages to a deep ravine. The feet of the pilgrims, who for 
thousands of years have trodden this self-same track, have made 
irregular steps all along the path, some so high that none but a 
giant could step up to them, and others not more than a few 
inches above the last. This ravine is very narrow, so narrow that 
there is only room for one to pass at a time, and over and over 
again one has to squeeze against the rocky bank to let long lines 
of descending pilgrims go by. These high rocky sides of the 
gully rise far above one's head, and are clothed from the top to 
within about five feet of the ground with a rich mass of ferns and 
tiny plants. 

About halfway up there is a rocky plateau where a cool breeze 
often blows; this breeze feels almost icy, blowing as it does on the 
body so greatly heated by the recent exertions. After this point the 
ascent becomes much more difficult, the water- worn ravines rising, 
in many places, almost perpendicularly. These wall-like rocks are 
only scaled with the utmost labour. Some way beyond this the 
ascent of the cone itself begins. At first it is a mass of naked 
rock up which it would be almost impossible to scale were it not 
for the steps which were cut in it ages ago by the pious hands of 
early pilgrims. Here the chains, spoken of before, begin. They 
are of iron, and are rivetted into the wall of rock for the greater 
safety of such of the pilgrims as may be weak-headed. The 
mountain at this stage is quite bare of trees for some distance, 
and the precipices fall away, sometimes from the very brink of the 
path, almost sheer down for hundreds of feet to where, far, far 
below, the forest again begins. 

After this space of hot, bare rock, where the cloudless sun 
seems to beat on one with almost perceptible pulsations, there is 
another stretch of forest, into the grateful shade of which one 
plunges as into a bath, and then again the path lies for a time in 
a narrow water-worn ravine. After this comes another series of 

VOL. VI. NO. 31, N.S. 3 



50 SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 

steps and chains, followed once more by a terribly steep bit of 
gully, up which one hauls oneself, panting and exhausted, to the 
last great flight of steps. This is an awful spot, and is one that is 
calculated to make dizzy the head of the strongest. On both 
sides of one stretches a great void of air, with nothing to be seen 
but a few faint clouds in the blue of the brilliant sky. Beneath 
one's feet the unfathomable abyss lies open, a chasm of unseen 
depth. This is no place to linger in hurry on, the fascination is 
too awful. This great crag, which is close to the summit of the 
cone, is so terribly precipitous that, looking at it from below, the 
line of pilgrims descending it resembled insects clinging to the 
rock. One last effort, and then, giddy, exhausted, and trembling 
from the exertion, the topmost rocks of the cone are reached, and 
these last few feet being scaled the summit is gained. 

The very apex of the Peak consists of a great crag which 
stands on a platform of rock ; upon this crag there is a tiny terrace 
surrounded by low stone walls, and upon this upper terrace lies 
the huge boulder which bears the sacred footprint. This stone 
is covered with a wooden shrine of slender columns, which is open 
on all sides to the wild winds that rage there, and is only 
sheltered by a roof with shady overhanging eaves, from which 
hang down two ancient bells. Although the shrine offers but 
slight resistance to the elements, the winds which blow and beat 
about that sacred summit are so strong and wild that it has to be 
secured in its place by great chains, which pass over it and are 
fastened to the living rock below. 

On the little terrace below the shrine, and at the foot of the 
ten steps leading to it, two Buddhist priests live in a poor and 
draughty hut built of mud and palm-leaves. It is about twelve 
feet long and six wide, and is of a very miserable description. 
The yellow gowns of poverty and the shaven heads of the Buddhists 
give them a very priestlike appearance. They receive visitors 
with hospitality, although they can do little for their comfort, 
and show the footprint and the sacred objects very willingly. The 
sripada itself is the rough outline of a gigantic foot impressed 
on the rock. It is about five feet long, and, although art has 
been brought to the aid of nature, it so little resembles the foot- 
print of an ordinary man that it must take an enormous amount 
of faith and credulity to make anyone believe it to be the impress 
even of a god. 

After sunset, and as night comes on, it becomes bitterly cold 



SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 51 

upon the summit of the Peak. Mists slowly collect and fill the 
valleys which lie thousands of feet below, and these rise in white 
billowy clouds, which float between the earth and the topmost 
crags of the mountain, till one feels as completely cut off from 
the world of men as though alone upon a solitary islet in a vast 
untraversed sea. The moon shines down from a sky of cloudless 
black upon the rounded surface of the misty waves below, and the 
steady stars, undimmed by cloud or vapour, glow like lamps in 
the mighty arch. Later the clouds rise higher, and some of 
them detaching themselves from the rest, and floating through 
the mighty fields of silent air, just softly touch the solid rock of 
the sacred summit for that one moment, and then drift on again 
into night-filled spaces as vast and as profound as those from 
which they came. 

Long before day palely dawns in the remoter east, the priests 
are astir and about, for they must be ready to receive the early 
pilgrims who flock to the summit to greet the sunrise. This is a 
keenly interesting and touching spectacle. When first the dim 
horizon begins to redden to the day, one hears sounds of people 
moving, and gradually the pilgrims come clambering up the crag, 
the earliest arrivals from the hut beneath the rock where they 
have passed the night these are shivering with the unwonted cold 
and then others, a little later, who have been toiling along the 
shrine-path all night through. If, before daybreak, one looks 
down from the parapet of the little upper terrace, the dim blaze 
of torches, far, far away below, can be distinguished here and 
there among the trees, where, in one long line, a band of wor- 
shippers is toiling up. Dotted about in the darkness, and moving 
hither and thither as the bearers walk, the tiny sparks look more 
like fireflies on the mountain side than the light of blazing 
chulees. The sound of their chanting can be heard as they ap- 
proach the shrine, just breaking the cold silence of the dawn, at first 
so faint and far away as hardly to be distinguished from the stillness, 
and then the silence stirs and wakens to a life of sound. Gradu- 
ally, as the pilgrims mount up higher, their strange chant swells 
louder, and grows slowly clearer and more clear, until, through 
the spreading daylight, the long white-robed file suddenly appears, 
one by one, from the steep precipitous stairs immediately beneath 
the terrace. Each man, as he reaches the little platform, puts 
out his light, bows down and worships. The act is unspeakably 
simple and touching. 

3-2 



52 SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 

As the crimson grows intenser in the windows of the morning, 
the eager faces with which the whole enclosure now is thronged 
gaze eastward with the keenest expectation and in breathless 
silence. Soon, through the red, a golden light floods up, and with 
a bound the blazing sun springs up, royal, strong, and young. 
Then every head is bowed, all hands are lifted up, and loud cries 
of ' Saadu, saddu ! ' burst from the throats that have been aching 
for its utterance, and from lips that tremble with their almost 
frantic zeal. Until the whole fiery round of the sun is above the 
horizon these worshippers stand regarding it with a transfixed 
gaze ; then they turn, and one by one ascend the steps to the 
sacred stone, carrying their offerings in their hands clasped high 
above their heads. Bowing once more they reverently place the 
gift upon the altar before the shrine, then striking the old bronze 
bell which hangs above the footprint, they turn and depart. It is 
a beautiful sight to witness, for all the lithe brown pilgrims are 
clad in garments of spotless white, and as they stand upon the 
apex of the rock the strong sunshine falls upon them so brightly 
that their robes become absolutely dazzling. Whilst the offerings 
are being laid upon the stone one or other of the priests, sitting 
in his yellow gown, reads or recites some passages from the sacred 
books, the listening people responding now and then with a loud 
'Saddii!' 

Meanwhile from the other side of the terrace an even more in- 
teresting scene was to be witnessed. A wonderful natural phenome- 
non was occurring which was greater and more imposing than all 
the footprints in the world, but one that was disregarded by the 
worshippers of the stone. On to the sky was being thrown the 
celebrated * Shadow of the Peak.' It was strange that, whilst the 
dreamy Easterns worshipped the substance of the mountain, the 
practical Westerns were regarding, with the interest and wonder 
that contain the elements of worship, the dusky shadow of it. 

As the sun, so eagerly waited for by the watchers on the 
eastern parapet, rises above the horizon, there suddenly appears 
upon the western sky ' Samanala's Shadow.' It is a strange sight. 
On the very sky there looms the vast shadow of the mountain, 
standing out almost as distinct and clearly defined as the real 
object. It almost looks as though another Samanala had sprung 
up there by enchantment in the night. As the sun rises higher 
the great shadow swiftly lessens, till soon all trace of it has 
vanished from the sky, and it creeps with imperceptible but rapid 



SAMANALA AND ITS SHADOW. 53 

paces towards the place where the watcher stands. The long line 
of dense shadow that stretches to the horizon moves mysteriously 
towards one until, as the sun marches upward, it lies extended 
upon the great plain from which the mountain springs. 

By this time day is fully come, and the sun is royally asserting 
his power. It is time to go. The early pilgrims are already 
leaving, and others, singing their chant and uttering their sacred 
invocation as they climb, are coming to take their place. There 
is only time for one last look upon the sacred shrine and one last 
rapid glance at the great panorama beneath it, and then farewell 
to the Peak. Perhaps after all is it strange ? what is remem- 
bered longest is not the footprint, is not the shrine, is not the 
great and holy mountain itself, but the one brief sight of the 
constantly recurring, though ever fleeting, vision of the shadow 
of it. 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

THE recent appearance in one of the daily papers of an account of 
an exploration of part of the subterranean course of the Eekka by 
certain members of the Austro-Oferman Alpine Club, reminds me 
vividly of an adventure of my own in the Karst, which cost me 
a prolonged period of intense mental agony, which for a time 
proved most disastrous in its effects on my health, and which, but 
for the merest chance, must have ended as tragically for me as it 
did for the ill-fated guide who accompanied me. 

In the month of April, 18 7-, I held the appointment of civil 
surgeon in one of the districts of Behar, in the presidency of 
Bengal. We had just had a severe epidemic of cholera in the 
jail which was under my charge ; for some months past there had 
been an unusual amount of sickness in the district, and during 
the last three weeks constant demands on my services had kept 
me daily in the saddle for seven or eight hours out of the twenty- 
four. The strain on my strength, which under any circumstances 
would have been great, had been rendered still more severe by an 
exceptionally trying season, the hot winds which blow in Behar in 
the months of March and April having been fiercer that year 
than in the whole course of my long Indian experience. By 
constant exposure to them my face had, in fact, become blistered 
and my eyes inflamed to an extent that threatened to interfere 
seriously with my work. 

In short, what with the effects of overwork and exposure, I was 
feeling thoroughly out of sorts, and I reluctantly made up my 
mind to avail myself of two months' 'privilege ' leave that was due 
to me, and pay a hurried visit to England. My application was 
granted in due course ; and, after telegraphing to my wife, who 
was in London, to expect me there before the end of the following 
month, I started immediately for Bombay, intending to leave by 
the first mail steamer for Brindisi. 

One of the first things I did after arriving at the hotel in 
Bombay was to lay in a stock of literature for the voyage, and 
among some dozen volumes which I purchased from an itinerant 
vendor of second-hand books were two odd volumes of the 
* Calcutta Keview,' which, I saw, contained, along with much 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 55 

heavier matter, a series of pleasant, chatty articles, entitled 
' The Unpublished Journal of Captain Musafir.' 

Had my curiosity not got the better of my forethought, I 
should, no doubt, have reserved the reading of these two volumes, 
along with the rest, to beguile the tedium of the voyage. But 
time hung heavy on my hands in the afternoon, and * Captain 
Musafir ' proved irresistible. 

The articles in question, which, as I subsequently ascertained, 
were from the pen of an officer of the Bengal Army, who was then 
known to fame as the author of the ' Eed Pamphlet,' and has 
since acquired a considerable reputation as an historian, contained 
a charming account of a holiday tour in some of the most 
picturesque parts of Austria. 

When the mind is suddenly set free from the worry of business 
and one finds himself in a quiet spot with nothing to preoccupy 
or disturb him, a pleasant book is apt to exercise a special fasci- 
nation, and this is particularly the case if at the same time 
physical fatigue indisposes one, as it did me, to active exertion. 
To this cause, perhaps, it may have been due, as much as to the 
subject matter and the enthusiasm of the writer, that Captain 
Musafir's narrative took a singularly strong hold of my imagina- 
tion. Especially was I struck with his description of the wonder- 
ful grotto at Adelsberg, a few hours' journey from Trieste. In 
fine, I conceived a strong desire to avail myself of my present 
opportunity to visit the spot, and, if possible, some of the other 
remarkable caverns in the Karst. 

My wife, it was true, was expecting me in London ; but she 
had been possessed for years with a longing to see Home and 
Venice ; and, as she was living in furnished rooms, where she was 
not particularly comfortable, it seemed probable that she would 
prefer meeting me in the latter place and spending a few days 
with me in Italy to waiting for me at home. So, having ascer- 
tained that an Austrian Lloyd's steamer would be leaving for 
Trieste on May 1, 1 went at once to the agent's, engaged a passage 
to that port, telegraphed to my wife to meet me at Venice on the 
27th, and wrote to her by the outgoing mail, giving her a more 
detailed account of my plans. 

During the sea voyage I completely recovered my health and 
strength, and when I landed at Trieste on the morning of May 23, 
I was feeling thoroughly fit for my projected excursion. 

I put up for the night at the 'Aquila Nera,' and the following 



66 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

morning, leaving my heavy luggage in the cassa of the hotel and 
taking with me only an overcoat and a light portmanteau, con- 
taining a couple of changes of linen, a handbook of the Karst, a 
supply of cigars, and a few other necessaries, started by the first 
train for Adelsberg. There, at the Widow Doxat's, a comfortable 
little hostelry, which I made my head-quarters, I found that it 
was necessary for intending visitors to give a couple of hours' 
notice to the custodian of the cavern, to enable him to make the 
necessary arrangements for its illumination ; so that the afternoon 
was well advanced before I could explore its wonders, which sur- 
passed, rather than disappointed, my expectations, but which have 
been so often described that I* need not trouble the reader with 
my impressions of them. 

Learning that I proposed visiting the Trebitsch cavern on the 
following day, the guide, who informed me that he knew the 
ground well, offered to accompany me ; and, as he spoke a little 
English, I gladly accepted his services. 

The morning was cloudy, but the guide was confident that 
there would be no rain to speak of ; so we took our tickets by the 
first train to Sessana, the nearest station to Orlik, whence the 
cavern is usually visited. 

Soon after we had started the guide asked me whether I was 
provided with the necessary permit from the engineer of the 
Trieste waterworks to visit the Trebitsch cavern, and, on my 
replying in the negative, expressed a doubt whether we should be 
able to obtain admission without it. Presently he added that 
my journey need not be wasted. There was a group of caves at 
St. Canzian, near the intermediate station of Divazza, which were 
even better worth seeing. We could get out there, and, if I had 
another day to spare, I could get permission from Trieste by post 
and see the Trebitsch cave the following morning. I agreed 
that, if there was the least doubt of our obtaining admission to 
the Trebitsch cave without a pass, it would be better in the 
meantime to make sure of the others. So we alighted at Divazza. 

Most travellers take a carriage from the station to St. Canzian ; 
but, as it was little more than an hour's walk, and I was anxious 
to study the geology of the country on the way, I elected to 
walk. 

At the little inn where the key of the cave is kept there was 
no one about but a boy of about seven, who seemed half-witted 
and could not be made to understand what we wanted. What the 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 57 

guide took to be the key of the gate leading to the Eekka Hohle 
was, however, hanging with several others on a nail in the wall, 
and, remarking that we had no time to waste, he took it down and 
suggested our starting at once. 

I urged that we should wait a little longer ; but, as he pointed 
to the uncertainty of the weather, assuring me at the same time 
that he was well known to the custodian and would make matters 
all right on our return, I yielded, reflecting that, after all, he 
knew more about the ways of the place than I did. 

Like most of the caverns in this remarkable region, the Kekka 
Hohle is entered from a dolina, or deep shaft in the limestone 
rock. The Eekka, during its underground course, pours into this 
dolina, with a fall of forty or fifty feet, into a dark and compara- 
tively still pool, about as large as Westminster Hall, to re-enter 
the rock on the opposite side beneath a majestic arch, which, the 
guide-books say, is some sixty feet high, but which, owing to the 
great altitude of the wall above, does not look more than forty. 
A strong head and, in wet weather, sure feet are needed to 
descend with safety the very uneven steps by which the margin 
of the pool is reached, and which, for a great part of the distance, 
are unprotected by any kind of railing. Fortunately the lime- 
stone affords a tolerably good footing when dry, as it was at the 
time of my visit ; nevertheless I was not sorry when we arrived 
at the door that bars the passage half-way down, and beyond 
which the steps, which become steeper and narrower from this 
point, are protected by a wooden balustrade. 

On trying the key in the lock we found that it did not fit. 
The guide had evidently brought away the wrong one, though he 
protested that the lock must have been lately changed. However, 
the bolt was easily forced back with the blade of his clasp-knife. 

The view from the margin of the basin, which we reached after 
a further descent of some two hundred feet, is one which for 
mingled beauty and solemnity has few rivals in Europe. On 
one side, where, from a cleft in the reef above, the Eekka 
plunges thundering into the pool, an eddying, foaming cauldron 
of dark-brown and grey-green billows, flecked with pearly white ; 
on the other, a gathering rush of inky waters, where, with a sullen 
roar, it disappears again beneath the lofty archway in the rock ; in 
the centre, a comparatively still expanse of turquoise blue ; over 
all a subdued light, darkening into gloom in the shadow of the 
great limestone walls. 

3-5 



58 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

For a moment I stood fascinated, conscious only of the weird 
spectacle before me and the deafening tumult of the waters. But 
gradually an oppressive sense of isolation stole over me, and this 
was intensified as a great flight of doves winged their way upwards 
to the sky, proclaiming that the place, tenanted till then, was so 
no longer. Then the roar and fall of the waters, from a chaos of 
contending sounds, began to gather itself into cadences, till the 
whole simulated the stertorous breathing of some mighty demon 
of the under-world. From being merely curious the fancy grew 
appalling. After a few seconds it vanished, only to give place to 
an apprehension more reasonable in character, if not better founded. 
As I listened spellbound to*the alternate ebb and flow of the 
tumult, a conviction suddenly seized me that it was steadily in- 
creasing in volume. What was more, this increase appeared to be 
taking place through a succession of reinforcements from the rear, 
so to speak. I seemed to hear each wave of added sound approach 
from a remote distance, growing gradually as it advanced, and 
finally merging itself in the roar of the cataract before me. So 
distinct, indeed, was the impression that by degrees the rhythm of 
these successive reinforcements obliterated that of the fall itself. 

The limestone of the Karst country is like a sieve, and I knew 
that with heavy rain it was no uncommon thing for the water in 
the dolinas to rise twenty or thirty feet in as many minutes. 
Where we were, such a sudden flood would indeed mean nothing 
worse than a precipitate retreat by the steps we had just descended ; 
but in the recesses of the grotto, which we proposed exploring, it 
would be a much more serious matter. 

I consulted Karl, but he detected nothing unusual in the sound 
of the torrent. The sky overhead was still clear ; there was no 
visible increase in the volume of the fall, and the level of the pool 
had undergone no change. Doubtless it was a mere aural illusion 
a variation of the same subjective process which a minute before 
had converted the chorus of waters into the breathing of a living 
monster. 

After ascending to a small grotto at the further end of the 
dolina and viewing the basin from that coign of vantage, we 
clambered up to a much larger cavern, not far from the arched 
tunnel through which the river disappears, and communicating 
with it in the interior of the rock by a somewhat steep, sloping 
gallery. Descending this gallery, we let ourselves down by a rope 
into a small boat, moored in the stream beneath the aperture, and 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 59 

provided with a length of rope, by gradually paying out which the 
next fall was safely reached. From this point it is possible, at the 
cost of considerable labour, to make one's way several hundred feet 
further to yet another fall ; but Karl, who was big with the secret 
of a great grotto, known, he declared, only to himself, and full of 
magnificent stalactites, persuaded me to give up the attempt in 
favour of a visit to this virgin ground, for conducting me to which 
he was to receive an extra fee of five guldens. 

We accordingly hauled back to a point about midway between 
the third fall and the entrance to the Eekka Hohle, where, after 
several unsuccessful attempts, we at last managed, by our united 
efforts, to punt the boat across, stern foremost, into a narrow cleft 
in the opposite wall of the cavern, terminating in an archway not 
much more than five feet wide and between two and three feet 
high in the centre. 

I have never experienced the first stage of petrifaction, but I 
can imagine it, and I have little doubt that it closely resembles 
the sensation I felt as it dawned on me that our further progress 
lay through that grim portal. Eesistance in any dignified form 
was impossible, for the simple reason that my tongue was im- 
movably fixed to the roof of my mouth, and when my Charon bade 
me stoop low, to avoid coming in contact with the rock above, I 
bowed my head to Fate with a sense of abject helplessness. 

What happened for some minutes after that I scarcely know, 
except that, as the boat passed uneasily into the rat-hole through 
which we were to force our way, a rush of cold, damp air blew out 
both our candles and left us in a darkness that could be distinctly 
felt from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. 

After an interval of suspense that seemed interminable, our 
progress was arrested with a shock that precipitated me face fore- 
most to the bottom of the boat. The guide struck a match and 
relighted his candle, by the faint glimmer of which I saw we had 
run upon a shelving bed of sand at the extremity of a chamber 
some forty feet long and almost as broad, the roof of which was 
high enough to admit of my standing upright. 

Disembarking, and drawing the boat up on to the sand to pre- 
vent all risk of her drifting into deep water, we scrambled up the 
slope, which was somewhat steep after the first few feet. At the 
top, and possibly about ten feet above the level of the water, was 
another narrow archway, through which we just managed to creep 
on our hands and feet. Inside, we found ourselves in a semi- 



60 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

circular pit, some thirty feet in diameter, the walls of which ap- 
peared in the gloom almost perpendicular, but which Karl scaled 
with the agility of a goat. On reaching the top he proceeded to 
light several other candles, which he planted on the edge, and by 
their aid I managed to follow him without much difficulty. 

A singular sight presented itself above. Extending on all 
sides, from within a few feet of where we stood into the darkness, 
was a forest of pillars, ranged without regularity at intervals of 
from one or two to eight or ten feet, and surmounted in most cases 
by more or less perfect arches, which seemed to support the roof 
of the cave. In many instances, where the pillars were closely set, 
the intervals were filled wholly % or partially with screens of semi- 
transparent stalactite. In some cases closed alcoves were thus 
formed, which, when a light was placed in them, had the appear- 
ance of great horn lanterns. 

After we had proceeded about a hundred paces, the distance 
between the pillars began gradually to increase, and a little further 
on they ceased altogether, and we found ourselves in what, on 
examination, proved to be a vast rotunda, of whose roof nothing 
was visible but the stalactites which here and there reflected the 
light of our candles. Most of these stalactites I estimated to be 
forty or fifty feet above our heads ; but a little to the right of our 
path one was dimly discernible in the distance which seemed to 
descend to within twenty feet of the floor, and by its size and 
shape invited closer inspection. As we approached it, the lower 
part gradually resolved itself into what looked strangely like a pair 
of human legs with the feet slightly drawn up. At this moment 
a pool of deep water arrested our progress and threatened to baffle 
my curiosity. The guide went back and brought up the candles 
which we had left burning at different points in the hall of columns ; 
but their united light made little or no impression on the deep 
darkness that hung over the pool, and I was on the point of aban- 
doning the investigation when I remembered that I had still in 
my waistcoat pocket a few inches of magnesium ribbon that had 
been left unburnt at Adelsberg the day before. 

I ignited it, and a shudder ran through me as the blaze of 
white light revealed the perfect figure of a woman suspended from 
the roof of the cavern by a long, thick rope, round which the hair 
of her head was twisted ; the arms appeared as though pinioned 
behind ; the contour of the body was that proper to the prime of 
life ; even the features, turned towards me in half profile, were 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 61 

plainly distinguishable. Rope, hair, eyes, limbs, all were of one 
hue a dull, greenish white. 

Marvellous as, from what I had recently seen at Adelsberg. I 
knew the mimetic powers of Nature in the shaping of these fan- 
tastic formations to be, it seemed, as I stood and gazed on the 
figure before me, that the improbability of its having been 
fashioned in mid-air, out of brute matter, by the equilibration of 
mere mechanical and chemical forces, was humanly indistinguish- 
able from impossibility. Was it the record, preserved by Nature 
in imperishable marble, of some deed of blood done ages ago in the 
living flesh the petrified corpse, in a word, of a murdered 
woman ? Was it the work of some mocking spirit, denizen of 
those dark recesses, bent on thus proving his plastic skill and his 
knowledge of human anatomy? Or must I accept the paradox 
that accident, infinitely multiplied, had simulated here the handi- 
craft of a Phidias ? 

By what process of logic I chose the last hypothesis it would 
not be easy to explain. Even to this hour, when I reflect how 
overwhelming at each turn in the surface must have been the 
chances against the accretion proceeding in the right direction and 
in no other, and again how immense the improbability of its being 
finally arrested at the precise stage when the just proportions of 
the human form had been exactly fulfilled, the phenomenon 
assumes the aspect of a protest against our ordinary conceptions 
of the universe. 

Beyond the rotunda the grotto again took the form of a com- 
paratively narrow gallery, which the guide told me he had only 
partially explored. It contained, he said, many curious stalactites, 
but the floor was much broken and full of pools and deep fissures. 
As one or two of our candles had already gone out and the rest 
were burning low, it was settled that before we attempted to ex- 
plore it he should go back to the boat and get a fresh supply, 
which he had left there. 

After he had gone, I took the longest of the pieces of candle 
and, extinguishing the rest, which I stowed away in one of the 
pockets of my overcoat, walked slowly in the direction of the 
further gallery, entered it and examined it for a few yards, and 
then came back and awaited his return at the entrance. - 

Four or five minutes must have elapsed when I thought I heard 
a faint shout from the direction of the hall of columns. I hallooed 
in return, but, if there was any response, it must have been drowned 



62 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

in the prolonged echo that reverberated through the rotunda, at 
one moment dying slowly away and at another seeming to revive 
and gather fresh strength,, as it broke forth from some remote 
corner. At length all was again silent as the grave, and then 
there came a louder cry, a wail of mingled entreaty and despair, 
that chilled the very marrow of my bones, and, though inarticu- 
late, seemed with cruel clearness to pronounce the doom, * Too 
late!' 

For a moment a palsy seized my knees, and I stood rivetted, 
like one in a nightmare, to the ground. Then, forgetful of the 
inevitable consequence, I set off running. In an instant the 
frail flame of the taper in my band was quenched, and I was left 
in impenetrable darkness. Fortunately I had with me a box of 
matches ; but, when I came to strike them, I found that the damp 
of the cave had already affected them, and, one after another, 
they either refused altogether to ignite, or burst hissing and 
spitting into only a momentary and ineffectual flame. At last, by 
striking three or four together, I succeeded in relighting my 
candle, and, proceeding at a more deliberate pace, had made my 
way, without further mishap, to within a few feet of the entrance 
of the hall of columns, when a sudden gust of wind caught the 
flame and nearly extinguished it. Protecting the candle with my 
hat, I advanced still more cautiously, the rush of air increasing 
at every step, till it threatened to sweep me off my feet and made 
further progress with the light impossible. 

Time was everything. Should I retreat to the rotunda and 
wait till the subterranean hurricane subsided, or should I press 
forward at all hazards in the darkness? I determined on the 
latter course, and, pressing my hat down tightly on my head, 
began to grope my way from column to column. Every now and 
then I paused and shouted with all my might, but my voice was 
drowned by the roar of the wind, rushing towards the rotunda. 
Though I made every effort to keep in a straight line, it was not 
long before my sense of direction became hopelessly confused. 
At one moment an apprehension possessed me that I was moving 
in a circle ; at another I felt that I must be going back towards 
the rotunda, for the current of air, which might have guided me, 
had begun to blow in all directions by turns. . 

I know of no sensation so utterly unnerving as that of having 
lost all clue to one's position in space. A deadly sickness came 
over me. I halted, leaned against a column, and broke out into 



IN THE REKK A HOHLE. 63 

a cold perspiration. Then, recovering somewhat, I made a strong 
effort to collect myself, but it was in vain that I tried to 
arrive at any conclusion as to the direction in which I ought to 
steer. 

Had all been well, there should, before this, have been some 
sign of light from the guide's candle ; but not the faintest glimmer 
was anywhere visible. 

Quite suddenly the rush of wind ceased. I relighted my 
candle with less difficulty than before, and discovered that I was 
within half-a-dozen paces of the semicircular pit in which we had 
found ourselves on first entering the grotto. I hurried to the 
edge. No guide was to be seen ; and, on looking down, I found, 
to my horror, that the pit was half full of water. 

The truth, though not the whole truth, flashed instantly upon 
me. There had been a sudden rise of the water in the Kekka 
Hohle a rise, as I calculated, of at least twenty feet and the 
guide, foreseeing that the boat, if caught in the low chamber 
where we had left it, would be capsized on the water reaching the 
roof, and our means of retreat thus cut off, had, no doubt, on 
the first alarm, pushed off and punted her back into the main 
channel. I had but to wait patiently, then, till the flood subsided, 
which, except in case of continued bad weather, it might be ex- 
pected to do in an hour or less, and I should be released. 

Eeassured by this review of the probabilities of the case, I 
lit a cigar, and, sitting down on the edge of the pit, anxiously 
watched the water. 

At the end of five minutes it had fallen at least a foot. Then 
there was a pause, followed by a slight rise ; but the only anxiety 
I felt was lest I might have to wait in the dark ; for the piece of 
candle I had lighted could hardly burn more than half an hour 
longer, and, even if I ventured to use up the other pieces, they 
would last, at the most, a couple of hours more. 

Presently the water began to fall again, more rapidly than 
before. I clambered down and tried, the depth. It was less than 
two feet. The top of the archway leading into the adjoining 
chamber ought, then, to be uncovered, for we had crawled through 
it on our hands and knees with room to spare. Yet, strange to 
say, no aperture was visible. I reclimbed the side of the pit, took 
off my boots and socks, tucked up my trousers, and, lighting one 
of the remaining candle-ends, descended again and waded towards 
the opposite side. Before I had got more than half-way across, 



64 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

the floor of the pit, which, I distinctly remembered, had, at the 
time of my arrival, been quite smooth and flat, became, to my 
surprise, rough and stony, and immediately beyond began sud- 
denly to rise. I held out the candle at arm's length in front 
of me, and, great heavens ! instead of the archway that should 
have been there, saw a shelving bank of rocky debris, resting 
against the wall of the chamber and reaching upwards to a height 
of at least eight feet. 

How long, after the first great thrill of despair, I stood, half 
conscious, gazing helplessly at the fatal avalanche, I know not. 
It could not have been less than a quarter of an hour, for I was 
suddenly awakened from my stupor by finding myself in total 
darkness. Then I shouted and shouted again, till sheer hoarseness 
compelled me to desist ; but there came no answer, save strange 
ghostly echoes from distant recesses of the cave echoes that, by 
their hideousness, woke up all the nameless terrors of the dark 
that had lain dormant in me since early childhood dread of 
demoniac clutehings at feet and face and hair; of skeleton 
embraces ; of monster, spectral eyes, faceless, unlidded, framed in 
the pitchy air. To stand erect was terror, for what might descend 
from above ; to move was greater terror, for what might be 
crowding around ; to stoop down was uttermost terror, for what 
might lurk below ! 

In vain I struggled to collect my thoughts ; in vain sought 
some point of contact with the physical world ; in vain appealed 
to common sense, to scientific belief, against the phantom legions 
that seem to people all space. My whole flesh crept ; the crown 
of my head pricked and tingled, as though it had been galva- 
nised ; a sudden vertigo seized me, followed by a violent fit of 
shivering. 

The slightest of causes at length restored my mental balance. 
The last gurglings of the retreating water, as it quitted the heap 
of fallen stones, called back the realities of things realities which, 
despite their grimness, were heaven to the hell they replaced. I 
listened, as to some sweet and familiar melody, till all was still 
again. Then I lighted another piece of candle and proceeded to 
examine the heap more closely, moving away the smaller stones, 
till I came to a great boulder, the surface of which I followed up 
to the wall of the chamber, three feet above the opening, access 
to which it completely barred. 

The terrible thought came over me, that the guide might lie 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 65 

crushed beneath that boulder, and, with him, my only hope of 
deliverance from the most horrible of deaths. 

Though my candle soon went out, I persevered in my work of 
clearing away the smaller debris, but only to find that there was 
nowhere room to insert even a finger between the boulder, which 
must weigh some tons, and the wall of my prison. Still I did not 
at once despair. The chances, after all, seemed strongly in favour 
of the guide having made good his retreat, in which case succour 
could only be a question of hours. 

The darkness, for the time being, had lost its terrors ; indeed, 
I felt strangely composed, and, resisting the temptation to light 
another piece of candle, I managed to feel my way back into the 
grotto above, and, sitting down with my back against a column, 
made up my mind to wait events with patience. Of a truth, I 
could do little else. To move, even by a hair's breadth, the 
boulder that barred the exit from the cave was utterly beyond my 
power, and the only tool I had with me was an ordinary penknife. 

For what seemed many hours I reclined there, revolving in my 
mind all the probabilities of my situation. 

If the guide had escaped with his life, all would surely be well ; 
but, if not, the more I reflected on the circumstances of my un- 
fortunate expedition, the more desperate the case seemed. The 
guide would be missed sooner or later of that I made no doubt. 
That he would be sought for was hardly less certain, and, under 
ordinary circumstances, there would have been every chance of his 
being traced. But how did matters actually stand? We had left 
Adelsberg with the avowed intention of exploring the Trebitsch 
cave, not the Kekka Hohle, and we had taken our tickets for 
Sessana, not Divazza. Even should it transpire that our tickets 
had been given up at Divazza, and enquiries be consequently made 
at St. Canzian, the clue would be lost ; for at St. Canzian we had 
seen no one but an idiot boy, incapable, apparently, of under- 
standing our enquiries ; and, then, had we not brought away the 
wrong key ? and was not the right key in all probability still 
hanging in its place, to bear unimpeachable testimony to the fact 
of no one having visited the Rekka Hohle ? Again, even if the 
Rekka Hohle should be searched, as, sooner or later, no doubt it 
would be, what chance was there of our being traced, seeing that 
one of us was crushed to death, and the other buried alive in an 
unknown branch of the cave, the entrance to which was likely to 
be passed unnoticed by anyone not previously acquainted with it ? 



66 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

The dolina would be dragged, and, perhaps, the course of the 
Rekka to the fourth cataract, and then the search would be 
abandoned. 

After an interval of the length of which I can form no concep- 
tion, passed in these and similar speculations, I may perhaps 
have dozed ; for though I had no recollection of having dreamed, 
my thoughts merged into one of those strange sensations that 
belong to the borderland between waking and sleeping a sensa- 
tion of one of my legs swelling and lengthening, and lengthening 
and swelling, till it filled the whole cavern, enveloping columns 
and insinuating itself into nooks and crevices, where it got 
squeezed and pinched. I started, to find it numb and cramped, 
and, rousing myself, struck a match, to make sure of my surround- 
ings, and paced to and fro for a time between two of the pillars. 
The temptation was strong to light another piece of candle, but I 
remembered I had only a few inches left, and determined to reserve 
my scanty store for occasions of greater necessity. 

My sense of time, in the absence of any means of marking it, 
was growing sadly confused. T could not be certain that I had 
not slept, and it already seemed days since I had entered the 
cave. Thirst began to torture me, and I longed to drink from 
the pool in the rotunda, but I dreaded going so far from the 
entrance of the cave, lest I should miss some sound of search or 
succour. At last the torture became unendurable, and I lighted 
the last but three of the remaining candle-ends and made my 
way to the pool, counting the pillars as I went and the number 
of paces from the last pillar to the pool, that I might be able to 
find it in the dark in future. When I returned to my old posi- 
tion, a few feet from the edge of the pit, I must have slept again, 
though I tried hard to keep awake. 

It was quite in vain now that I endeavoured to form even an 
approximate notion of the time I had been immured. So inde- 
terminate, indeed, had my sense of duration become that, when 
at rest, I could not tell whether hours passed or days. Sometimes 
I would try to correct this vagueness by counting ; but I found 
that I was constantly losing my reckoning, and, in the end, the 
occupation became so irritating that I was obliged to abandon it. 
In the absence of all external movement, the operations of my 
mind were the only measure available to me ; but to appeal to 
this criterion was to fall under an illusion. My thoughts, as in a 
dream, began to create for themselves a special time of their own, 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 67 

which became gradually less and less distinguishable from that 
which the things thought of would have occupied if they had 
been real. As my imagination had grown preternaturally active, 
traversing again and again not only the events of my recent life, 
but much that was long past, and not a little that had lain for 
years unremembered, there were moments when more than half 
my life seemed to have passed since I had last seen the light of 
day. 

That I had not eaten since I came into the cave, and that, 
though feeling very weak, I was still alive, these two facts, viewed 
in the light of calm reason, furnished a strong presumption 
against my imprisonment having lasted many days. But between 
this conclusion and the testimony of my memory there was an 
irreconcileable contradiction, which seemed at times to assume 
the form of a conflict between scientific theory and actual fact. 

I had brought half-a-dozen biscuits with me, and I ate one, 
more from a desire to give myself a fair chance than to satisfy 
any craving, for, strange to say, I was not at all hungry. I had 
still a cigar left. Should I waste a precious match in lighting it ? 
I counted my matches. There were just fifteen left. Eemem- 
bering that, when I had last used them, I had found three out of 
four bad, I hesitated. For what seemed hours I resisted the 
temptation ; but the craving at last got the better of me, and I 
enjoyed that cigar as I have never enjoyed one before or since. 

Then came an interval of prolonged semi-stupor, of which I 
remember little more than that I was aroused several times by a 
sense of burning thirst, and as often groped and measured my 
way to the pool and drank. On the last of these occasions I must 
have fallen asleep not far from the edge of the pool. Indeed, I 
must have composed myself to sleep deliberately, though I have 
no recollection of it. All I know is that I drank long and eagerly, 
and, after falling for countless ages through a depth beyond the 
power of waking thought to fathom, found myself extended at full 
length on the ground, with my overcoat carefully folded under- 
neath me. 

For the first time I now felt hungry ; but, when I came to 
examine my biscuits, I found, to my astonishment and dismay, 
that there was only one left out of the five that should have been 
in my pocket. The rest could not have fallen out, for this one 
was carefully folded in the paper that contained it, and the only 
conclusion I could arrive at was that I must have eaten them in 



68 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

my sleep. The horror of death by starvation, which, in the 
absence of all appetite, I had scarcely realised before, now stared 
me full in the face. The prospect seemed to spur me to exertion, 
and I even began to reproach myself for having allowed such a 
length of time to pass without making any effort to escape. Yet 
what, I asked myself, could I have done ? What could I do ? For 
a long time nothing more hopeful than waiting suggested itself. 
One thing, indeed, I might have done, had I not been deterred 
from it by the fear to which I have already referred. I might 
have made an effort to explore the gallery that led from the 
further side of the rotunda. 

The idea was a. desperate one at the best, for I had only three 
inches of candle left ; all I knew of the ground was what the 
guide had told me, that it was full of difficulties, and, should any 
accident happen to my light, I might be unable to find my way 
back. 

However, I determined to make the experiment. In order 
that I might have my hands free for climbing, I cut four holes in 
the front of my hard felt hat, and, having bound the handle of 
my penknife to it with a piece of string, so that the blade pro- 
jected a little above the crown, fixed the candle-end on the point. 
Then I ate half my last biscuit, and, after taking a draught of 
water and lighting the candle, set off on my voyage of discovery. 

The gallery proved narrow and tortuous, and my progress, 
owing to frequent boulders and chasms, some of the latter ten or 
twelve feet deep, laborious rather than difficult or dangerous. No 
opening was anywhere visible ; but when, as far as I could judge, 
I had penetrated about eight hundred paces, the passage suddenly 
widened, and a stream of slowly flowing water, about two feet 
deep, crossed it almost at right angles, entering the gallery on 
the left and leaving it again on the right by filtration through 
the rock. 

I was now thoroughly exhausted, and, finding that more than 
an inch of my candle was already burnt, I determined to put it 
out and rest awhile. 

No sooner was I in darkness than, in the far distance in front 
of me, the floor and a portion of the left wall of the cave seemed 
to be steeped, for a space of several yards, in a flood of pale 
bluish light a steady, diffused light, which covered a well- 
defined area, and, though apparently reflected, seemed to come 
from nowhere in particular. 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE. G9 

Could it be moonlight ? A strange thrill ran through me ; a 
lump rose in my throat ; and, instead of following my first impulse, 
to shout for joy, I burst into a flood of tears. 

For a few moments I struggled in vain to control my feelings ; 
then an impulse seized me to rush forward, regardless of the water 
in front of me ; but my head swam, I trembled in every limb, 
and it was only by a powerful effort that I could keep myself from 
falling. There was plainly nothing to be done but to wait 
patiently till I should have recovered from my fatigue and excite- 
ment; so, folding my overcoat again, I lay down on it and 
watched the light in an agony of expectation and suspense. 

After I had gazed at the light intently for some time, it no 
longer seemed to glow with the same steady radiance as at first, 
but to vary in intensity from one minute to another, while I 
thought I detected certain pulsating points of special brilliancy, 
and a rippling, quivering movement seemed now and again to 
traverse the entire luminous space. The only explanation of 
these appearances that suggested itself to me was that the light 
might be that of the moon, partially obscured from time to time 
by flying clouds and shining on water in motion. 

It must, I should think, have been at least an hour before I 
felt well enough to make a fresh start. No sooner had I relighted 
my candle than every vestige of the illumination in the distance 
disappeared ; so, finding the floor of the cavern beyond the stream 
comparatively smooth and free from obstacles, I put it out. 

As I approached the illuminated space, which proved much 
nearer than it had seemed, a faint light seemed to hang over it, 
and presently it became evident that this proceeded from some- 
thing slightly raised above the surface of the ground. Had 
I, then, been buoying myself up with false hope ? A sudden 
qualm came over me, such as one feels during the first moments 
of an earthquake. A few feet only now separated me from the 
shining mass. Whatever it might be, it was obviously self- 
luminous. For a moment I stood stunned and motionless. 
Then curiosity gave me fresh nerve, and, taking another step 
forward, I stooped and passed my hand over a portion of the sur- 
face from which the light proceeded. It was leathery, cold, and 
clammy to the touch ; and, as I withdrew my hand, I saw that it, 
too, was aglow with phosphorescent light. 

Breaking off a fragment of the luminous substance, I examined 
it more closely. Its texture and its form, plainly defined in its 



70 IN THE REKKA HOHLE. 

own light, left no room for doubt as to its character. It was a 
phosphorescent fungus. 

I did not stay to examine the rest of the mass, which covered 
some square yards of the floor and a portion of the adjoining wall 
of the cave, but, relighting my candle, hurried back, broken- 
hearted, to my old post near the mouth of the grotto, and lay 
down to die. 

As I lay, I know not what tempted me it was not hunger, 
nor was it a desire to hasten my inevitable end, but rather a mere 
morbid craving to swallow a portion of the foul toadstool I had 
brought away with me. It was slightly sweet, and not unlike 
manna to the taste. No sooner had I eaten it than an intense 
feeling of drowsiness came over me, and, at the same time, a 
sound, as of a mighty rush and tumult of waters, filled my whole 
brain. I had no doubt that I was dying, but my only feeling was 
that of a blessed sense of deliverance. 

All at once the noise ceased, and I sank eternally through 
some soft substance which offered no resistance to my descent, 
but the gentle, downy friction of which against the surface of my 
body, as it circled perpetually around me, produced in every 
fibre of my being a sense of exquisite delight. ' If this is death,' 
I exclaimed, * who would live ? ' 

As I uttered the words a purple light burst forth and filled all 
space ; I became aware of a feeling of compression about my 
wrists, and, at the same instant, my descent was suddenly 
arrested, and I hung suspended painfully by the arms. ' In the 
name of God,' I cried, t let me go ! ' 

The only response to my appeal was a cry, thrice repeated ; 
faint at first, as if from some distant world, then louder, then 
ringing and exultant : * He lives ! He lives ! ! He lives ! ! ! ' 

I became conscious. I opened my eyes. A group of men 
with flaming torches stood around, and, bending over me, with 
both my hands grasped tightly in hers, was my wife. 

How we wept in one another's arms, to be peremptorily parted, 
after a few brief, happy moments, by the medical man my wife 
had brought with her from Adelsberg; and how, after sundry 
ministrations of soup from the doctor's flask, I was conveyed out 
of the cave and carried, first to Divazza, where I was put to bed 
without being allowed to see my wife again, and then, the next 
morning, by train to Adelsberg, I need not relate. 

The story of my rescue may be briefly told. 



IN THE REKKA HOHLE 71 

After waiting in vain for me at Venice for a week, my wife 
became seriously alarmed and proceeded to Trieste. Arrived 
there, she had no difficulty in tracing me to the ' Aquila Nera,' and 
ascertained that I had left for Adelsberg on the 24th May, with 
the intention of returning in a couple of days. Starting without 
delay for Adelsberg, she reached that place to learn that an 
Englishman, who had left the Widow Doxat's hotel for Sessana 
on the 25th May, had been missing, together with his guide, since 
that date. Her worst fears were confirmed when, going to the 
hotel, she identified as mine the portmanteau left behind by the 
missing traveller, and was further informed that every nook and 
corner of the Karst had already been searched without result. 

On closer enquiry, however, it transpired that it had been 
thought unnecessary to examine the Rekka Hohle, as it had been 
ascertained at St, Canzian that the key of the door leading to the 
dolina had not been out of the possession of the custodian for 
more than a fortnight. My wife naturally insisted on the neces- 
sity of searching the cave in question without delay, and, with 
the aid of the doctor already mentioned, a party was promptly 
organised for the purpose. 

It is unnecessary to enter into all the details of what followed. 
The absence of the boat from its place in the cave, combined with 
the fact of the door leading to the dolina being found open, left 
no doubt that an accident had happened. Fortunately the rope 
by which the boat was held, and which the guide had paid out as 
he passed through the low tunnel into the antechamber of my 
prison, had not parted, and, on an attempt being made to haul 
it in, it was found that it passed into an opening on the opposite 
side of the cave. 

By means of a canoe procured from one of the neighbouring 
dolinas, the chamber was reached, and, on its being dragged, our 
boat was found, bottom upwards, in deep water, with the body of 
the unfortunate guide under it. An examination of the shelving 
bank of sand at the further extremity of the chamber resulted in 
the discovery of footprints leading to the archway at the top. The 
appearance of the debris which strewed the ground showed that the 
boulder which blocked the opening had, in all probability, recently 
fallen, and after some hours' labour an entrance was effected, with 
the result that I was released, as already described, after having 
been immured for ten days in the bowels of the earth. 



GREY WETHERS. 

A GREY WETHER is not a peculiar form of sheep, entered to be 
judged in a special class by the learned breeders who usually 
compose a cattle-show jury. It presents, in fact, about the same 
sort of analogy to a live wether that a pillar of salt does to Lot's 
wife. In the concise and graceful language of the geological 
text-books, it is ' a block of saccharoid sandstone,' which, I suppose, 
may be regarded as scientific English for a big boulder closely 
resembling a gigantic lump of brown sugar. All over the surface 
of Salisbury Plain (so called because it consists, in reality, of an 
undulating upland), and along the high ridges of the Marlborough 
Downs, you may see these gigantic Grey Wethers, reclining 
peacefully in the eye of the sun, and looking really, at a little 
distance, very much like a scattered flock of sheep of Titanic pro- 
portions. Some of them are twelve or fifteen feet across, and 
about four or five feet in thickness ; and they lie on the surface of 
the shallow turf, like the squatting toadstone on Tunbridge Wells 
common, great naked masses of hard but friable sandstone rock, 
in the midst of a wide and unvaried chalk country. How they 
got there was, and is still in some ways, a profound mystery. 
Their presence on the spot has been variously attributed at 
different periods to Merlin and to the Devil, to the Universal 
Deluge and to the great Ice Age ; geologists have referred them to 
the action of denudation, and popular fancy has, perhaps with 
higher probability, attributed them to the agency of the elves, the 
fairies, the Druids, and the Saracens. 

But the problem how these huge blocks of shapeless sandstone 
came to find themselves isolated on the hilltops in the midst of a 
bare and unvaried chalk country is not by any means the only 
point that gives interest and dignity to the Grey Wethers. They 
derive a far deeper and more human claim to attention from the fact 
that they compose the stone of which the great outer circle of 
trilithons at Stonehenge is built ; and all the secret of Stonehenge 
itself is closely bound up with the kindred secret of the Grey 
Wethers. Even local tradition knows as much as that, for it 
declares that when the Devil, or Merlin, or some other person or 
persons unknown, first transported the hanging stones of the 



GREY WETHERS. 73 

great temple, by magic art, through the air from Ireland, he 
dropped a few of them carelessly on the way over the Wiltshire 
downs ; and these stones, thus let fall by accident in the midst of 
the bare chalk country, are the Grey Wethers. Tradition often 
contains a wonderful kernel of truth ; and this one, as preserved 
for us by Aubrey and others, enshrines two or three various bits 
of really genuine antiquarian intelligence. In the first place, it 
recognises the original identity of the Grey Wethers and the 
Stonehenge trilithons. In the second place, it declares that 
Stonehenge is a foreign temple, as imported. And in the third 
place, it attributes the importation to Merlin, the Devil, the 
Druids, the Saracens, or the fairies, all of whom, in spite of 
accidental diversities, have this much at least in common, 
that they are all wicked, all heterodox, all ancient, and all 
magical. 

The Grey Wethers, like modern swindlers, have several other 
names as well : they are known by the aliases of Druid Stones and 
Sarsen Stones ; which last designation by far the commonest at 
the present day has a very curious and interesting origin. It is 
a corruption of Saracen. Now, what on earth have the Saracens 
to do with the county of Wilts in that part of the United 
Kingdom known as England ? There were Moors in Provence, as 
everybody knows, and Buddhists in Mexico, as some people assert, 
but were there ever any Saracens in Wiltshire ? Rather not. To 
the mediaeval fancy, all Paynims were Saracens alike : worshippers 
of Mahomed, or, what came to pretty much the same thing, of the 
Devil in person. Your mediaeval thinker made as little distinction 
as a modern missionary between Mahommedans and Pagans ; he 
regarded them all equally as dogs of Saracens, and he mixed up in 
one universal condemnation, as the Prayer Book does in one concise 
petition, Jews, Turks, Heretics, and Infidels. Now, the English 
people in the Middle Ages knew in a dim, half-mythical fashion, 
that Stonehenge and the other great scattered megalithic monu- 
ments, like cromlechs and dolmens, were all the work of some 
pre-historic Pagans, and connected with some forgotten heathen 
religion. Therefore it obviously followed that they were Saracen 
stones. The conclusion flows logically from the premisses : it is 
only the premisses themselves that are a little bit confused and 
muddled. After all, the mediaeval blunder is not much more 
absurd or much more unauthorised than the modern one which 
regards all these vastly archaic and pre-historic structures as 

VOL. VI. NO. 31,N.S. 4 



74 GREY WETHERS. 

<Druidical monuments.' Because there were once Druids in 
England, and because the Druids were ' Ancient Britons/ and 
because these stones are also very ancient, therefore the stones 
were set up by the Druids. We might on precisely the same 
grounds assign every Koman object found in Britain to Julius 
C?esar, and every coin of George I. or James II. to William the 
Conqueror. As a matter of fact, Stonehenge was already hoary 
with the rime of ages when the first Druid missionary set foot, 
with his tribesmen, on the soil of England ; and the so-called 
Druidical monuments generally have no more to do with those 
very shadowy and half-mythical Celtic priests than they have 
to do with St. Augustine of Canterbury, or St. Thomas a Becket, 
or the Salvation Army. 

Let us see, then, what is the real history of the Sarsen Stones, 
or Grey Wethers, as revealed for us on the one hand by geology, 
and on the other hand by modern archaeological research. 

The first thing that strikes one whenever one examines a Grey 
Wether, is the fact that it is very much weathered indeed. It is a 
hard lump or kernel of friable sandstone, worn away on every side by 
rain and wind ; a mere relic or solid core of what was once a much 
larger and broader piece of sandstone. But the odd point is that 
these isolated blocks occur now in a country where there is no rock 
of any sort, save chalk, for miles and miles around in every direction. 
Why is this ? Well, it is now pretty certain that once upon a 
time (a very safe date) a great sheet of just such friable sandstone 
overlay the whole of the English chalk downs. At that remote 
period, of course, they were therefore not chalk downs at all, but 
sandy uplands of the same character as the pine-clad country round 
Bagshot and Woking, where the troops from Aldershot camp out 
in summer-time. In point of fact, this layer of sandstone, or 
rather several such layers, still cap the chalk in all the London 
basin ; and by boring through them you come at last upon the 
underlying chalk, beneath several hundred feet thickness of 
superficial deposits. But on the higher uplands of Wiltshire and 
Berkshire the rain and streams have gradually worn away and 
removed piecemeal the whole of the eocene and other upper layers, 
cutting down the hills to the level of the chalk beneath, and 
leaving only a few of the very hardest and lumpiest kernels of the 
sandstone strewn loosely about on the surface of the downs. 
These kernels are the problematical Sarsen Stones. Some of them 
seem to be derived from one layer of tertiary deposits, and some 



GREY WETHERS. 75 

from another; but they remain at the present day as solitary 
witnesses to the vast thickness of similar rock which has been 
slowly removed from the summit of the chalk downs by the rains 
and torrents of a million winters. They are but the last fragments 
of a wide-spread deposit which once covered the whole south of 
England with its barren sheet, and of which larger patches still 
remain among the wild heaths of Wilts or Surrey and the slopes 
of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. 

Chalk country is always noticeable for three great wants : the 
want of wood, the want of water, and the want of building-stone. 
Broken flints are the chief architectural material of the English 
downs, and they are employed impartially for walls and houses, 
church towers and monastic buildings, throughout the whole of 
the fruitful chalk belt. Accordingly, from very early times, the 
utilitarian philosophy of bucolic man set him to work to utilise 
the Sarsen Stones for his own purposes. The stones serve to this 
day, wherever they occur, for walls and gate-posts, for farm build- 
ings and paving-stones ; and, worse than all, these mystic relics 
of a remote antiquity are pounded up by the representatives of 
the late Mr. Macadam for the vulgar purpose of making road 
metal. Hence it is not surprising that the number of Sarsen 
Stones to be found in situ, where nature left them, is year by 
year rapidly diminishing, and that in the course of time the last 
Grey Wether will disappear entirely from Wiltshire, save where 
accidental use in the formation of a pre-hiotoric monument may 
happily save it from final destruction by the iconoclastic forces of 
the nineteenth century. Even that hallowing antiquity may not 
always preserve it from untimely desecration ; for what earthly 
thing is sacred in the greedy eyes of the modern contractor and 
his myriad myrmidons ? Not the tombstones of the dead, or the 
memorials of the past ; not the Eoman vallum, or the pre-historic 
fosse ; not hoary antiquity, or natural beauty. Nothing but the 
almighty dollar, the divine locomotive, vested interests, and a ten 
per cent, dividend. They would cheerfully chip up Henry the 
Seventh's chape) at Westminster as material for mending the 
street at Whitehall, or drive a permanent way with patent sleepers 
through the very centre of the inner circle at Stonehenge. They 
would regard the trilithons as a shocking waste of good building- 
stone, and they care less than nothing for any inner circles, save 
in the solitary instance of the Metropolitan and District railways. 

But pre-historic man, like every dog, had once his day, and in 

4-2 



76 GREY WETHERS. 

his day the Sarsen Stones of Wiltshire appeared to him also, after 
his primitive fashion, an excellent building- stone for architectural 
purposes. Long, long ago, before England was yet even Britain, 
in the dim old days of the newer Stone Age, when short squat men 
of Finnish or Euskarian breed occupied the whole of what are now 
the British Isles, the utilisation of the Grey Wethers first began 
for practical objects. ' Let us exploit the Sarsen Stones,' said 
primitive man, in his own language (probably agglutinative), and 
straightway he began to pile them up into dolmens and cromlechs, 
gigantic trilithons and pre-historic temples. And then it was, as 
modern archaeology tends every day more and more fully to show, 
that the large circles of StoneKenge were first piled up on Salis- 
bury Plain. There can be little doubt at the present day that 
Stonehenge is a tribal temple of some petty Wiltshire kingdom 
in the newer Stone Age, and that it antedates by several thousand 
years the arrival of the Celtic Aryan conquerors in the isle of 
Britain. 

The really curious point about Stonehenge, however, is this 
that it does not all consist of Grey Wethers, though the biggest 
and most conspicuous of all the trilithons are composed of those 
huge local boulders. There are other stones in that ancient temple 
which came from some far more distant land stones the like of 
which certainly cannot be found within a hundred miles of Salisbury 
Plain, and some of which, in all probability, can only be matched 
on the continent of Europe. Stonehenge is undeniably not a 
native Wiltshire monument ; it is probably not even British at all. 

In order to understand this very strange and mysterious fact, 
we must look a little more closely at the composition of this great 
surviving specimen of stone-age architecture. 

The focus or real centre of the Stonehenge temple is the so- 
called altar-stone, which occupies precisely the same position in 
the primitive structure as the high altar occupies in most modern 
Eoman Catholic cathedrals. But this very altar-stone, the great 
central fact around which all the rest of the ancient building 
clusters, is not a Grey Wether, nor a Wiltshire stone at all : it is an 
imported slab of felspathic hornstone, plentiful in some parts of 
Wales, about Carnarvonshire and Montgomeryshire, but utterly un- 
known in south-eastern England. Now, that is in itself a suffi- 
ciently strange and remarkable fact, but it becomes a thousand 
times more strange and remarkable if we remember that the slab 
was brought thither, without any advanced mechanical appliances, 



GREY WETHERS. 77 

by the stone-age folk. To transport a big block of the sort from the 
very nearest point where it could possibly be obtained namely, 
from North Wales would tax even at the present day the re- 
sources of civilisation as understood by the modern contractor and 
his myrmidons aforesaid. (I call the navvies myrmidons as often 
as possible, on purpose to annoy the writers of superfine English.) 
The mass would have to be carted from the quarry to Dolgelly 
station, shunted at Kuabon, transferred from the Great Western 
to the South Western at Swindon, transported to Salisbury, un- 
loaded on to a truck, and then driven across country by a 
doubtful road on to the bare bosom of Salisbury Plain. And all 
that after Macadam and Stephenson have wreaked their worst 
upon the communications of the United Kingdom. 

But when the half-naked stone-age folk carried their sacred 
symbol to its home at Stonehenge, Great Britain must have been 
a very disunited kingdom indeed. Long ages after, when Caesar 
first landed at Deal, for the distress of all subsequent generations 
of archaeologists and schoolboys, it was still divided among Ice- 
nians and Coritanians, Catyeuchlanians and Trinobants, and half- 
a-dozen more assorted unpronounceable Celtic tribes. Much more, 
then, in the dim recess of neolithic times, must countless petty 
principalities, like those of South Africa or New Guinea in our 
own day, have occupied every shire of England, and every Biding 
in the county of York. If the altar-stone came from Wales, it 
must have been rolled, tumbled, wheeled, or dragged, over path- 
less mountains and through trackless plains, guiltless as yet of the 
wiles of the Macadam, all the way from Carnarvon or Llandeilo to 
its present position on Salisbury Plain. I do not myself believe, 
however, for a reason which I will presently state, that the altar- 
stone is British by origin at all. It came, no doubt, to Wiltshire 
from a far country, but that country did not lie in the direction 
of Wales ; it lay rather to the extreme east. But, concerning 
this, more anon. 

To add to the wonder, the smaller circles at Stonehenge are 
also intrusive and of foreign origin, their place of nativity having 
been as much debated among geological authorities as Homer's or 
St. Patrick's among the curious in such matters. One thing alone 
is certain : they are not English, but are naturalised aliens. Ac- 
cording to older authorities, they are greenstone from Ireland ; 
and that idea would fit in well with the tradition that the Devil, 
or Merlin, or somebody else mysterious and unchristian, trans- 



78 GREY WETHERS. 

ported them hither from the Green Isle. But then, I don't think 
we need attach much importance to the tradition in this respect, 
because Ireland, being the Isle of Saints, and the Isle of Druids, 
and the magical, mystical country generally, was a good place to 
bring anything mysterious from, just as India and Egypt are at 
the present day to our own Blavatskys and spiritualists and theo- 
sophists. Professor Eamsay, on the other hand, without posi- 
tively identifying the smaller circles with any British rock, 
observes that the blocks are of the same nature as the igneous 
masses in some parts of the Cambrian region in South Wales ; and 
this would fit in pretty well with the theory of the Welsh origin 
of the altar-stone. But still *later inquirers, venturing to look 
away from Britain altogether, have suggested that the stones may 
have come from Belgium or some other part of the Continent, 
where they find rocks still more closely resembling the Stone- 
henge specimens than any purely British igneous masses. This 
suggestion appears to me, from the archaeological point of view, 
far the most probable ; and on the following grounds. 

Whoever put up the altar-stone and the smaller circles at 
Stonehenge, must certainly have brought them from a great 
distance. Now, people don't usually carry about large blocks of 
greenstone or felspar in their waistcoat pockets, without a good 
reason ; especially if they don't wear waistcoats, and if the blocks are 
as big as a good-sized doorstep. Hence, I think, we may conclude 
that the imported stones at Stonehenge were originally sacred : in 
short, that they were the Lares and Penates of some intrusive con- 
quering tribe, which carried them along with it, like pious ^Eneas, 
through all its wanderings. All over the world, upright slabs 
or menhirs form common objects of worship to savage or barbaric 
people ; the poor heathen, as we were universally informed in the 
nursery, bow down in their blindness to stocks and stones. These 
stones are in the most literal sense mere blocks rude shapeless 
masses which it would be desecration to carve or cut with a knife, 
even if the unsophisticated savage happened to possess any proper 
knife wherewith to cut them. In India, to this day, our Aryan 
brother sets up just such unhewn stones in the centre of his 
agricultural holding, to represent the Five Brethren of the old 
Hindoo mythology. But, as a rule, I believe, the unhewn sacred 
stone is really a tombstone ; it is the upright pillar or menhir, 
erected originally on top of a barrow, to mark the spot where a 
great chief or king has once been buried. Offerings are daily 



GREY WETHERS. 79 

made at the stone by the grateful or terrified descendants, to 
appease the ancestral ghost ; oil and wine (or whatever else the 
country affords of alcoholic stimulant) are dutifully poured over it ; 
and all fitting respect is paid to the grave of the mighty dead by 
the obsequious survivors. In process of time, however, the object of 
the worship gets gradually forgotten ; the ghost itself fades away, 
and it is the actual stone that comes to be regarded as sacred, not 
the tomb or barrow of which the pillar is but the outward and 
visible symbol. 

As soon as the sanctity of the stone has got to be well and 
firmly established, it will follow that the tribe, on being forced to 
migrate elsewhere, will take these, its household deities, on the 
way with it. All migrating tribes, from pious JEneas and his 
Trojans downwards, always carry their paternal gods in their own 
portmanteaus. And there are numerous cases on record where 
migrating tribes have actually thus carried in their train their 
sacred stones. The Scots carried theirs from Ireland to Argyll- 
shire, and when Edward I. conquered them (pro tern.} he took it 
off in turn from Scone, and placed it in the coronation chair in 
Westminster Abbey, where that remote relic of pre-historic 
paganism still figures in the midst of a christianised ceremony. 
It seems probable, therefore, that in the same way the intrusive 
foreign stones of Stonehenge were brought to Wiltshire by some 
invading tribe, as their own fetishes, much as the South Sea 
Islanders, going about in canoes from one little group of islets to 
another, carried with them their own sacred stones to serve as the 
nucleus of a national religion in the lands whither winds or waves 
might drift them. 

But why may not the newer stone-age men who built Stone- 
henge have come to Wiltshire from Wales or Ireland ? Simply 
because the chances are against it ; in Britain at least, the wave of 
conquest has always gone in the opposite direction. Westward 
the tide of empire takes its way. The conquerors, like the wise men, 
come always from the East. It is as improbable that the Stonehenge 
folk came from Carnarvon or from Wicklow to Wiltshire, as that 
the founders of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston came from 
Chicago, St. Louis, or San Francisco to the Atlantic seaboard. 
The possessor of the plains of England and the lowlands of Scot- 
land has often conquered the Welshman, the Highlander, and the 
Irishman, but he has never once been conquered by the moun- 
taineers in return. 



80 . GREY WETHERS. 

Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief, 
Taffy came to my house and stole a leg of beef ; 

but Taffy never dreamt of attempting to overrun the shires of the 
Midland and the pastures of the south. When Tougal descended 
on the lowlands, his utmost exploit was to * drive ta cattle,' as in the 
familiar instance of the immortal Phairshton. On the other hand 
the possessors of the English plain have often been conquered 
and driven back or subdued : first, the Euskarian by the Celt, 
then the Celt by the Eoman, then the romanised Briton in turn 
by the Saxon, then the Saxon once more by his still heathen 
brother, the stalwart Dane, or his half-christianised and frenchi- 
fied cousin, the Norman ; but iji every case the conquering people 
came, without one exception, from the continent of Europe. 
Never once in Britain has the man of the mountains beaten the 
man of the plains ; he takes his tardy revenge by charging the in- 
trusive Saxon in the pass of Llanberis or the strategic defile of 
Killiecrankie alone. If you fail to catch the point of this last 
remark, you are recommended to go thither and see, when its 
hidden meaning will become immediately apparent to the meanest 
understanding. 

Since, then, most conquering people come to Britain from the 
continent of Europe, since such people are apt in early stages of 
culture to carry with them, in the rough, their country's gods, 
and since rocks capable of producing the raw material of the par- 
ticular deities now in question are better found on the Continent 
than in Britain, I think we may conclude, with great probability, 
that the builders of Stonehenge came to Wiltshire from some- 
where south-eastward ; especially as a broad belt of land at that 
time still connected the opposite shores of Dover and Calais, and 
rendered the proposals for a Channel tunnel at once premature 
and practically unnecessary. I don't doubt that for the stone-age 
men it was a mere walk-over, and that they carried weight in the 
shape of the altar-stone and the smaller pillars. 

When they got to Salisbury Plain, I take it, they called a 
halt, and began to set up afresh the standing stones they had 
carried with them on their long journey. Under the altar-stone, 
perhaps, the actual ^Eneas of the stone-age colonists, flying from 
some early pre-historic Agamemnon, was duly buried at last by 
his own people. Certainly, some interment or other took place 
upon the spot ; for when an iconoclastic lord of the manor, in the 
days of the Stuarts, went digging among the hoar stones in search 



GREY WETHERS. 81 

of treasure vulgar-minded wretch ! he was rewarded only by the 
discovery of a few old bones, stags' horns, bullocks' heads, and 
other wonted memorials of a primitive neolithic funeral feast. 
Having set up their fetish stones in due order, however, the pious 
immigrants determined to add to the dignity and glory of their 
national temple by piling up around it a circle of the tallest and 
biggest grey wethers that all Wiltshire could readily produce. 
These grey wethers they dressed roughly with their polished flint 
axes into rudely quadrangular shape, piled them up by two and 
two, and then lifted by main force a third on top, so as to form 
the familiar shape of the existing trilithons. Thus it is the 
smaller stones of Stonehenge that form the really most ancient 
and important part of the whole erection. The other portion of 
that great pre-historic temple, the huge trilithons that astonish 
us still, even in this age of advanced engineering, by their bulk 
and massiveness, have grown up around the lesser and more 
sacred obelisks, much as the magnificent church of Our Lady of 
Loretto has grown up about the Casa Santa of Nazareth, which 
was miraculously transported through the air from Palestine, like 
Stonehenge from Ireland by the arts of Merlin. 

It is probable that the greater part of the biggest Sarsen 
stones were employed at one time for just such purposes as at 
Stonehenge dolmens, cromlechs, chambered barrows, and so forth 
and thus they got to be mentally identified by the rustic intelli- 
gence, not, it is true, with Druids (for the Druidical nonsense, like 
Arkite worship and all the rest of it, is a pure invention of the 
'learned' or pedantic classes), but with some old forgotten 
heathen worship. Hence they were commonly spoken of as 
Saracen stones ; and the name was justified by the common belief 
that the architects of Stonehenge, in carting the great blocks to 
their present position, had tumbled some of them about on the 
downs. Within the memory of men still living, a fair was held 
at one such pre-historic monument, and was opened by solemnly 
pouring a bottle of port over the sacred fetish of a race long since 
passed away from among us. Could anything prove more con- 
clusively the persistence of custom in an old settled and very 
mixed population? Celt and Eoman and Saxon and Norman 
have since come, and many of them gone again ; but the heathen 
rites offered up at the grave of some dimly remembered Euska- 
rian chieftain survived through them all up to the very beginning 
of this enlightened nineteenth century. 

4-5 



82 



COURT ROYAL. 

A STORY OF CROSS CURRENTS. 
BY THE AUIHOB OP ' 10SS HEKBLNG,' 'MEHALAH,' ETC. 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

A SISTER OF MERCY. 

HE brothers of -the Duke, 
his son and daughter, hur- 
ried to his apartment in 
alarm. The Worthivales, 
father and son, remained 
where they were, anxious 
to know the cause of alarm, 
but unwilling to intrude. 

The Archdeacon turned 
faint ; he also suffered from 
the heart, and the Marquis 
was obliged to lend him an 
arm. The General and Lady 
Grace were the first to enter 
the Duke's morning sitting- 
room. 

We must explain the 
cause of the Duke's excite- 
ment. 

He had been taking his 
breakfast when the valet 
informed him that a lady 
a Sister of Mercy had called and desired very particularly to 
see his Grace, if he would generously allow her an interview of 
five minutes. 

' A Sister of Mercy ! ' exclaimed the Duke. * What Thompson, 

in the hall. Kept her waiting ? Excellent people most certainly 

I will see her. Some subscription wanted to an orphanage, or a 

refuge, or a laundry. Show her up at once of course, of course.' 

A lady entered in black, closely veiled. 




COURT ROYAL. 83 

'Take a chair, my dear madam,' said the Duke, rising. 
'Thompson, put a chair. That will do. Pray be seated, 
madam.' 

' Thank your Grace,' said the Sister, waiting till the valet 
had left the room ; ' I had rather stand. I will not detain you 
five minutes.' 

* No detention at all, except as a pleased captive,' said the 
Duke. ' It does an old worthless fellow like me, shelved from all 
useful work, good to see one whose life is devoted to doing deeds 
of charity, to care and toil for others. The Sister of Mercy sums 
up in her little self the whole duty of man, as a proverb condenses 
the experience of ages.' 

* Your Grace must excuse me. I do no deeds of charity. I 
owe no duties to my fellows. I am not a Sister. I am a nobody. 
I am only Joanna.' She threw back her veil. The Duke looked 
at her with mingled surprise and admiration ; surprise, because 
he did not understand her words, admiration at her beauty. 

* You have not heard of me,' said Joanna. * I do not suppose 
you have ; but I know about you, and I know more concerning 
your affairs than do you yourself. I dressed in this disguise to 
come here, because I did not wish the servants to recognise and 
stop me. I determined to see your Grace. I am only a small 
mouse, and you a great lion, but you are fallen into a net, and I 
can bite the threads and free you.' 

' You must excuse me, Miss Joanna but I really do not see 
your drift, and understand to what I owe the honour of this visit.' 
The Duke put his hand to his head. 

* Your Grace is in the hands of Jews.' Joanna opened a little 
handbag, and threw some deeds on the table. * Look there the 
mortgages my master holds. I have taken them. I bring them 
to you. Tear them up and burn them, and Lazarus cannot touch 
you. I am with Lazarus. I would have allowed myself to be 
hacked to pieces rather than hurt him, but he dealt falsely by 
me. He sent me here to pry into and discover for him your 
affairs. Lord Saltcombe and Lady Grace have been kind to me. 
I will not help to bring them down. I will show them that I am 
grateful. I love I dearly love Lady Grace.' 

'My good Miss Joanna,' said the Duke, 'I am perplexed 
beyond measure. I cannot understand ' 

'Those deeds will explain all,' said Joanna, interrupting him. 
'I have not many minutes to spare. I have come here from 



84 COURT ROYAL. 

Plymouth, and must return whilst my master is absent. All lies 
in a nutshell. There are your mortgages. Destroy them.' 

' I cannot touch them,' said the Duke. * Do you mean to tell 
me that you have abstracted them from the holder ? ' 

' Yes, I took them from his strong box.' 

' You have acted very wrongly. You have committed a crime. 
You are liable to be tried for this and imprisoned. This is 
robbery.' 

' I do not care. I want to do something for Lady Grace. I 
am the Jew's heir, and if I steal the money I rob myself. There 
is no harm in that. Besides, he used me unfairly in sending me 
here, and I will pay him out for it.' 

' You must go back at once and replace these documents where 
you found them.' 

* You will not destroy them ? ' 
f Most certainly not.' 

* But I will tear them to shreds.' 

* That will not relieve me. I am morally bound by them. I 
should meet my liabilities just the same whether the deeds existed 
or were destroyed. I hold their counterparts, and will act on 
them. There child take them back, and never, never again 
act in so rash a manner. Your motives may be good, but your 
conduct has been most reprehensible.' 

* Your Grace does not know all. The truth is kept from you. 
Ask Lord Saltcombe, ask Lord Ronald, to tell you the truth. Or 
there look at this Society paper. There is a paragraph in it 
about you. My master put it in, and was paid for the information. 
No do not look at it till I am gone. I tell you that you are 
ruined, and the world knows it now. Your last hope was in the 
marriage of Lord Saltcombe, and that is taken from 'you. Will 
you have the mortgages ? ' 

' Certainly, certainly not,' said the Duke, uneasy, offended, 
bewildered. He could not understand who Joanna was, why she 
addressed him, what her interest in him was, and his pride was 
hurt at her offer, at her daring to talk of his embarrassments to his 
face. 

'And really,' he continued, after a pause, 'I am at a loss to 
explain this visit ; though I feel flattered that my family, or any 
members in it, should have inspired ' 

Joanna again interrupted him. 'Your Grace, my time is 
precious. I must be off. I have made you the offer, and you 



COURT ROYAL. 86 

have refused it. I can do no more. There is the paper. I have 
marked the paragraph with blue pencil.' 

She thrust the deeds back in her bag, and, before the Duke 
had put his hand to the bell, left the room. 

The Duke sat for some moments, rubbing his brow, trying to 
gather his thoughts. The visit was so short, Joanna's manner so 
extraordinary, her offer so outrageous, that the old man was com- 
pletely thrown out of his usual train by it. He shook his head 
and took up the Society paper. His eye was caught at once by 
the paragraph Joanna had pencilled. It was to the effect that 

the projected marriage between the Marquis of S , heir to 

the most embarrassed Duke in the three kingdom?, and the 
daughter of a wealthy planter from the East Indies, was broken off 
owing to the ruinous condition of the Duke's affairs, and to the 
fact that the father of the lady declined to allow his hard-won 
savings to be thrown away in washing the Duke's hands. The 
editor added that it was satisfactory to know that some birds were 
sufficiently old not to be caught with Salt ! 

The state of excitement into which reading this threw the 
Duke alarmed Thompson, and he ran to summon aid. Mrs. 
Probus, on hearing that the Duke was ill, ordered one of the 
grooms to ride for the doctor, a hot bath to be got ready, a 
couple of bricks to be put into the kitchen fire for application to 
his Grace's soles, and to direct that spirits and cordials should 
be taken at once to the Duke's apartment. 

When the General entered, followed by Lady Grace, he found 
Lucy already by the chair of the old man, vainly endeavouring to 
pacify him. The Duke tried to speak, but words failed him. He 
held the newspaper and waved it impatiently, and pointed to it 
with the other hand. Lucy had a glass of water, and entreated 
him to drink it, but he shook his head angrily. 

Then the Archdeacon came in, leaning on Lord Saltcombe's 
arm. 

What is it? What is the matter ? Is it a fit? ' he asked. 
4 Bathe his temples with vinegar, give him sal volatile. The 
action of the heart must be stimulated.' 

The Duke was irritated at the attempts to doctor him with 
cold water and compresses, with vinegar and cordials. After a 
moment of struggle he gasped forth, ' Take this trash away. I 
am not ill. I am insulted. Get along with you, Thompson. 
Turn the servants out. I don't want all the world here. Please 



86 COURT ROYAL. 

leave my chair, Lucy. Grace, I had rather you were not in the 
room. What have you all come tumbling in on me for in this 
fashion ? I am not dying. The room is not in flames. I pray 
you leave me alone with my brothers.' 

* Please let me stay by you, papa,' said Lady Grace. 

He made an impatient gesture with his head, but she would 
take no denial. She stepped back behind his chair, and Lucy 
left the room. 

When the Duke saw that he had only his son and brothers 
before him, he recovered himself, and, holding out the paper, 
exclaimed, 'I have been insulted grossly insulted. Look at 
this!' .~ 

The Archdeacon took the paper from his hand, and read it. 

' What is it, Edward ? ' asked the General. 

* Hand him the paper, Edward, when you have done reading 
the precious production. What do you think it dares actually 
dares to say ? Upon my word, the temerity of the press is in- 
conceivable. It has the audacity to declare that we are ruined ; 
that I I, the Duke of Kingsbridge, am living on the forbearance 
of my creditors. Bless my soul! where are the lightnings of 
heaven, that they do not flash on heads that dare think, and 
tongues and hands that dare speak and write, such outrages ? ' 

The General turned white and looked down. The Arch- 
deacon folded the paper with trembling hands, and laid it on 
the table. 

* I wish,' said Lord Eonald, ' that the old times were back, 
when I might call the editor out and put a pistol-shot through 
his head.' 

' That cannot be. It is impossible now. A gentleman can- 
not redress a wrong,' said the Duke. ' If he takes a horsewhip 
and touches a dog that has snarled at him, he has to endure the 
indignity of being summoned for assault. You have not read 
the paragraph, Eonald. You had better not. It will fire your 
blood, and you will be committing some indiscretion. It dares 
to insinuate that we sent the Marquis hunting that girl for her 
money wherewith to buy off our creditors and secure prolonga- 
tion of days to ourselves.' 

Lord Konald was too confused to speak, his temples became 
spotted red. He took the paper and read it. 

* What has occasioned this ? ' asked his Grace. ' Is it 
possible that gossip is at work upon us groundless gossip ? Who 



COURT ROYAL. 87 

has started it ? How far has it gone ? I know well enough that 
our fortunes are not as magnificent as they were in the reigns 
of the first Georges, and that the property is encumbered, but 
that is all. What is the meaning of this calumny starting to 
life?' 

The Archdeacon looked at the Marquis, but as the General 
and Lord Saltcombe looked at him the mainstay of the family 
he answered, 'Do not put yourself out, Duke. There is no 
accounting for the origin and progress of tittle-tattle. It springs 
out of nothing, and swells to portentous size on nothing.' 

* But, Edward, it kills like the fluke in the sheep. That also 
springs from an imperceptible nothing, but its effects are felt, not 
by the sheep only, but by the farmer, the landowner, and the 
parson. A germ of microscopic smallness disturbs the social 
system ; no rents, no tithe, no trade.' 

' Of course there are mortgages and debts,' said the Arch- 
deacon. 

' Of course there are,' exclaimed the Duke. ' There always 
have been. What landed estate is unencumbered ? But what of 
that ? Every oak bears oak-apples as well as acorns.' 

' Put the paper in the fire,' said Lord Konald, < and its contents 
out of your mind.' 

' The one is done more easily than the other,' answered the 
Duke. ' Indeed, the one is possible, the other is not ; a bullet 
may be extracted, but the wound remains to ache and fester. 
But are things in a bad state here so bad, I mean ? ' He 
turned to the Marquis. * Saltcombe,' he said, ' since I have been 
ill you have hacl the charge of everything. I hope you have done 
your duty, and can answer to the point when I ask, is there 
occasion for this impertinence?' The Marquis hesitated. He 
was afraid of alarming his father ; he could not dissemble. Whilst 
he hesitated Lady Grace stepped forward, knelt down at her 
father's feet, and leaning her hands on his knees, whilst she looked 
up fearlessly into his eyes, said, ' Papa, we are quite wrong in 
regarding you as too weak to bear bad news. You are a rock, 
and can stand the storm as well as the sunshine, is it not so ? 
Well, dearest papa, it is quite true we are ruined. We do not 
know where to turn for money. The mortgagees are calling in 
their mortgages. There is nothing for it but to sell some of the 
property.' She paused, then turned with a smile to her uncles. 
* There,' she said, ' see how brave the dear old man is ! how erect 



88 



COURT ROYAL. 



the silver head is held ! He is no coward ; he is not afraid to hear 
the truth, however dreadful the truth may be.' 

The Duke was flattered. He bent forward and kissed his 
daughter on her brow. Then he leaned back in his chair, and 
looked from one to another. ' She exaggerates, no doubt.' 

' It is too true, father,' said the Marquis, ' we have got into 
almost inextricable confusion. Still there is hope. Worthivale 




is going to write to the troublesome mortgagees, and arrange for 
a delay.' 

' Worthivale should never have allowed things to come to this 
pass. But I see exactly how it is. Worthivale is an alarmist, 
excellent fellow though he be. He is always crying out that there 
is no money for anything, and it has become a habit with him to 
hold up his hands and eyes in despair. He has persuaded himself 
that we are ruined, and you have been weak enough to listen to 



COURT ROYAL. 89 

him and believe all he says. I know why he is crying out now. 
He is scared at the idea of my buying Kevelstoke. You may tell 
him that I give it up ; thereupon his sky will be set with a triple 
rainbow.' 

' I agree with you,' said Lord Edward. ' Mr. "VVorthivale has 
taken his son Beavis into confidence, and the new broom sweeps 
up a dust. In a little while the dust will settle, and all go on as 
before.' 

* Oh, Beavis ! ' exclaimed the Duke, * this is Beavis's cry of 
wolf, is it ? ' 

' Papa,' said Lady Grace in urgent tones, * when the wolf did 
come the cry was disregarded.' 

i Do not you meddle in these matters, my pretty,' said the 
Duke. ' It was cruel of them to disturb your mind with these 
false alarms. You should live above all sordid money cares. Go 
back to your flowers.' Then turning to the others : * Worthivale 
is a good man of business, he will manage all.' 

' But, papa,' said Lady Grace, ' how came you to get this 
wicked paper ? Was it sent you by post ? ' 

' No, dear. I received a call this morning from a lady, a Sister 
of Mercy, and she left it.' 

' What ! a Sister of Mercy read a Society paper ! ' 

* Yes I suppose so even a Sister of Mercy that is but, 
upon my word, I am so bewildered ; I hardly know who she really 
was. I rather incline to think she was a maniac.' 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

REFORMATION. 

SINCE Joanna's return from Court Royal Lodge a change for the 
better had been effected in the house of the Golden Balls. She 
had been firm with Lazarus, and he had yielded. She kept every- 
thing in good order ; she refused peremptorily to have the kitchen 
and what belonged to the housekeeping department untidy and 
broken. She got white lime, mixed it herself, and with a pawned 
mason's brush whitewashed the kitchen, the back kitchen, and 
her own attic bedroom. She mixed yellow ochre with the wash 
and coloured the walls. Where the slates in the floor were broken, 
she relaid them herself in cement of her own mixing. She 



90 COURT ROYAL. 

stitched some muslin and made a blind for her window. She 
scrubbed the shelves and table in the kitchen with pumice-stone 
and soda, till the white deal shone like new. When work for the 
day was over, she laid a rug before the kitchen fire, brought the 
tea-table before it, threw over it a cloth, and put on it her lamp. 
She seated herself beside the stove, with the door open, so that 
the red light flickered over her knees and skirt, and white stockings 
and neat shoes, whilst the lamp irradiated her face and hands, 
intent and engaged on needlework. 

Joanna had always been an energetic worker, never idle, but 
her work hitherto had been unsystematic, undirected, desultory ; 
it was like her conscience, unsystematic, undirected, spasmodic in 
action. She had done what came to hand, and done it as the light 
of nature taught her. At Court Eoyal Lodge she had seen order, 
cleanliness, reduced to clockwork. She had learned that comfort 
was inseparable from both. Her feminine instinct for what is 
seemly and right was satisfied, and she was resolved, with the 
whole strength of her strong will, to reform the domestic arrange- 
ments at the Golden Balls. 

She had several battles with Lazarus, but she was victorious 
along the line. The meals were better. He had made himself 
ill by the nastiness of the food he had eaten whilst she was 
away, and he was ready to yield a point in this particular, on 
her return, for his own health's sake. She did not openly 
oppose him when she found she could carry her purpose by quiet 
persistence. 

When in Plymouth at his private money-lending office, at 
which he was present for some hours in the day, an office without 
name on the door or window, quite a private lodging, to all appear- 
ance he was well dressed, that is in respectable clothes, without 
patches, without splits, not discoloured. On his return he dived 
at once into his bedroom, and re-emerged, the wretchedest of old 
ragmen. ' It is in eating, Joanna, that clothes get spoiled. If 
we were angels, neither eating nor drinking, our clothes would 
never wear out. With the utmost care we cannot avoid speckling 
and splashing the cloth.' 

* Where are my house clothes ? ' he asked one day, putting his 
head only his head out at the door. * I can't find them any- 
where, and I've been hunting for them high and low. I'll catch my 
death of cold. Have you taken them to darn ? Tell me. I am 
all of a shiver.' 



COURT ROYAL. 91 

' I did take them,' said Joanna ; ' but they are not fit for you 
to put on.' 

* Oh, for the matter of that, this is home, sweet home, and any- 
thing will do there. Joanna, be a dearie, and walk backwards 
with them, and pass them in at the door whilst I hold it ajar.' 

* I can't I've sold them.' 

' Sold them ! ' cried the Jew. * Sold the very skin off my 
back ! Oh, Joanna, I hope you had a good offer for them.' 

' I sold them as old rags, three pounds for a penny. There 
were not many pounds in them ; you had worn them thread- 
bare.' 

* Oh, Joanna ! what am I to do ? Where is the money ? ' 
She came towards the door. 

' I have it in my hand.' 

He uttered a little scream, and drew in his head and shut the 
door. * Pass it under. Brrr ! it is dreadfully raw ! What am 
I to do for clothes ? ' 

She stood outside, and heard him counting the coppers. 

* Very little, wretchedly little,' he muttered. ' You might 
almost as well have thrown the things away.' 

* That would have been against the principles on which I have 
been reared never do anything for nothing.' 

* True doctrine,' said the Jew, ' I was speaking poetically. I 
strew flowers sometimes. It is my mind ornate.' 

Presently he called very loud, ' Joanna ! I say, Joanna ! ' 

' Well,' she answered, * what do you want ? ' 

' I'm quivering like gold-leaf,' he said plaintively through the 
door ; ' I can't come out as I am.' 

' Put on again the suit you went out in.' 

' But I want my tea.' 

' What of that?' 

' It may drip. And bread and butter.' 

'Well?' 

' The little bits with butter on them may fall on my knees 
butter downwards, and stain me.' 

' I've made you a sort of blouse,' said Joanna through the key- 
hole, 'in which you can be respectable. You can slip it over 
your suit when you come in.' 

' But the seat, Joanna ; the wear and tear there is sickening.' 

'I've cushioned your chair,' she replied through the key- 
hole. 



92 COURT ROYAL. 

After a while Lazarus appeared, respectably dressed. Then 
the girl produced a smock she had made, and he drew it over his 
head. 

1 1 look rustic in it,' he said ; * but I see the idea it will save 
clothes. I approve.' 

The kitchen looked cosy with the lamp and fire, the hearth- 
rug, the tablecloth, and the tea-things, and with the curtain drawn. 

* It is beautiful, but expensive,' said Lazarus. ' Dear heart 
alive ! you are burning the coals very fast.' 

' I've reckoned up, and find it cheapest to have a good fire,' 
answered Joanna, * cheaper by sevenpence three farthings per 
night.' 

* How do you make that out ? ' asked the Jew. ' I'd be proud 
to know how spending can be converted into saving.' 

* I worked one night without fire,' said Joanna in reply. ' I 
worked at the coat- turn ing, and my fingers were so cold I could 
hardly hold the needle, and had to put them in my mouth to 
bring the feeling into them. The next evening I worked with 
fire, the same number of hours, at the same sort of work, and did 
half as much again with warm fingers. Then I ciphered it all up 
so much done at so many hours, and coals, by measure, at four- 
teen shillings per ton, and I reckon I cleared sevenpence three 
farthings.' 

* Seven times eight makes fifty-six. Twelves in fifty-six, four 
and eight over. Seven farthings, one and three over. Penny 
three farthings from four-and-eight makes a total of four-and- 
sixpence farthing. Say twelve weeks of firing, that makes 
twelve times four, forty-eight ; twelve times six, six shillings : 
forty-eight and six make fifty-two. Why, Joanna, that is the 
clearing of two pounds twelve and threepence per annum. At 
that rate you may burn coals and I will not grumble.' 

' There is nothing like thrift, is there, master ? ' 

* Ah,' said the Jew, ' talk of the beauties of nature ! What I 
look to is the moral lessons it preaches. How many of your 
holiday-takers, who run over the sea cliffs, look at the thrift that 
covers them, and lay the flower to heart ? I'm not one who ap- 
proves of hoarding. Hoarding is a low and savage virtue, but 
Turning over is the cultured virtue. Turn your eggs and they 
don't addle, but they won't set. It is better with moneys. You 
can always restore the vital heat to them in your pocket, turn 
them over, and hatch out of them a pretty brood.' 



COURT ROYAL. 93 

Lazarus spread his hands before the fire, and the light played 
over his face. He smiled with satisfaction. 

' The domestic circle,' said he to himself, or Joanna, or both, 
' is a very pleasant circle to him who is its centre. I only passed 
through it as the man in the circus goes through a hoop, and 
mine was on fire, and singed me. Nevertheless, I won't say 
but- 

He did not finish his sentence, and Joanna did not trouble 
herself to inquire what he intended to say. 

* I think a shave wouldn't do you harm,' she observed. * There 
is a frowsy growth on your upper lip like a neglected plantation.' 

' I'm going to grow a moustache,' said the Jew. ' I'm about 
to mark an epoch with it.' 

* You you going to make yourself ridiculous ? ' 

* Not at all ridiculous. I've come to that period of life when 
a judicious growth of hair disguises the ravages of time.' 

' Pray, what is the epoch to be marked by a moustache ? ' 
asked the girl. 

Instead of answering the question directly, he sighed, stretched 
his legs and arms, and said, ' I'm a lone, lorn widower.' 

( That ought not to trouble you much,' observed Joanna. 
' You've been a grass widower long enough.' 

' That is just it, Joanna,' said the Jew ; ( I've been in grass 
so long that I should like now to get into clover.' 

* Do you think of retiring from business ? ' asked the girl. 
' Oh dear no ! I couldn't live without it.' 

' Then you will allow me to spend more on housekeeping ? ' 
He shook his head and hitched his shoulders uneasily. ' I'm 
not inclined to launch out far yet,' he said, with an intonation on 
the last word. ' The time will soon come when it will be other- 
wise. I am going to foreclose on those Kingsbridge people. 
What is more, I've been about and seen some of the other mort- 
gagees, and given them such a scare that I've no doubt they will 
do the same. I've got it into the society papers, Joanna pub- 
lished to the world that the great ironclad Duke is foundering. 
The beauty of my position is that I strike at the heart. I have 
my hold on Court Eoyal itself. They will sell anything rather 
than that ; and if they once begin to sell, it will go like a forest 
on fire there will be no stopping it.' 

' They will be beyond your reach when the marriage takes 
place,' said Joanna. 



94 COURT ROYAL. 

* I have put a spoke in that wheel. The marriage is broken 
off,' 

Joanna was sincerely distressed. * I wish I had done nothing 
for you. I wish I wish I had not ! ' 

' You have done everything for me,' said Lazarus. * Through 
you I have ascertained who are the mortgagees, and who hold the 
bills, and I have been able to see and scare them all. Even the 
insurance company, that has the heaviest mortgage of all, is made 
uneasy. _You may depend upon it, I have taken the pillars 
between my arms, and brought down the house upon the Philis- 
tines.' 

Joanna burst into tears. 

'There, there,' said the Jew, 'you have been dazzled and 
bewitched by those aristocrats, like so many others. It is a short 
enchantment that will soon pass. Joanna, we will have a bloater 
for supper. Eh ? soft roe ! eh ? ' 

Joanna held down her head, and the tears dropped on the 
work on which she was engaged. Lazarus looked at her with 
a peculiar expression in his eyes. Then he began to whistle 
plaintively to himself Azucena's song in ' Trovatore,' ' Homeward 
returning to our green mountain.' 

Presently the girl looked up, saw him watching her, and 
something in his expression offended her, for she coloured, and 
said, ' I did not know you were musical.' 

' I'm what you may call a many-sided man,' answered the Jew, 
* full of prismatic twinkle and colour. You've only seen me under 
one aspect, and that the business one appraising goods, whacking 
little boys, and scolding you. But there is more in me than you 
suppose. You've thought me hard, may be, but I'm like a sirloin 
of beef I have my tender undercut. You've thought me cold, 
because I'm not given to blaze and crackle with emotion and 
sentiment, but I'm a slow combustion stove, lined with firebrick, 
and when alight I give out a lot of heat for my size. There are 
some men like the greengage all sweetness without, but the 
heart within is stony. There are others like the walnut, rugged 
and hard as to their exterior, but nutty and white and delicious 
when you get at their insides. Such, Joanna, am I.' 

' I've never tasted the nuttiness yet,' said the girl. 

' But it is there.' He shook his head. * Wait till my mous- 
tache is grown, and that Kingsbridge pack of cards is tossed about, 
and you'll see wonders.' 



COURT ROYAL. 95 

* I want to see no more of you than I am forced to,' she 
muttered. 

* Oh, Joanna, don't say that ! I suppose now, taking all in all, 
that you have got a certain amount of liking for me.' 

' What do you mean by " taking all in all " ? Do you mean 
taking your heap of greasy, patched clothes, and your frowsy face, 
and your long and dirty finger-nails, and your stingy habits, and 
the way you smack your lips over food that is palatable, and the 
way in which you are ogling me now taking all this together I 
have a liking for you ? No, nothing of the kind.' 

' Why do you say these offensive things, Joanna ? We belong 
to each other like a pair of stockings ; one can't go on without the 
other.' 

' I think I could shift without you,' said Joanna. * There is 
the bell ; some one is at the door.' 

A moment after Charles Cheek's voice was heard in the 
passage. 

' Is the boss in ? I want to see him. Not but what I wanted 
to see you also, Joanna ; but that is a permanent craving.' 

' Here is Mr. Lazarus,' said the girl, ushering the young man 
into the kitchen. 'I've put him on a smock to keep him re- 
spectable.' 

* What do you want with me ? ' asked Lazarus, with lowering 
brow and without a salutation. 

* This is a civil- reception, is it not ? ' exclaimed the young 
man. * What else can I want of you but money ? I am cleaned 
out, and desire accommodation till my father relaxes. He is out 
of humour just now, and will send me no more than my allowance. 
As if a young fellow of spirit could live within his allowance ! ' 

' Why did you not come to my office at a proper time ? ' asked 
Lazarus, almost rudely. 

' Because money-lending and money-taking are proper to you 
at all times.' 

' I can let you have no more. You have had abundance, and 
I shall lose what I have lent already.' 

' How much is that ? ' 

* I cannot tell till I have looked.' 
' Well, go and see.' 

Lazarus rose reluctantly from his chair, and taking a candle, 
lit it at the fire and went to his room. When Joanna saw that he 
was gone she drew near to Charles Cheek, and looking up in his 



96 COURT ROYAL. 

face with a grave expression said, ' Do not come here after money. 
Lazarus will ruin you.' 

' But I must have money. If my father will not find it, I must 
obtain it elsewhere.' 

* When did you see your father last ?' 
' A century ago.' 

' Why do you see him so seldom ? ' 

* Because I am not partial to lectures on extravagance.' 

' You deserve them. Go to your father ; tell him the truth ; 
promise him to be more prudent.' 

* No use, Joanna. I cannot be prudent. It is not in me. I 
must spend, just as the sun emits light and the musk fragrance.' 

4 Neither of these exhausts itself. You must not, you must 
not, indeed, come to Lazarus. I know how this works. In seven 
years I ought to know. It brings inevitably to ruin, and I would 
not have you come to that.' 

'Why not, Joey?' 

' Because I like you, Charlie.' 

Both laughed. His impertinence had been met and cast back 
in his face. 

* Upon my word, Joanna, I wish you could take me in hand 
and manage me ; then something might be made out of me.' 

* I cannot take that responsibility on me. I turn coats, not 
those who wear them. But I can advise you. I do entreat you to 
listen to me. I speak because you have been kind to me, and I do 
not meet with so much kindness as to be indifferent to those who 
show it me. I would like to see you out of Lazarus's books. You 
can give him no security only your note of hand. Do you con- 
sider what interest he takes on that ? There go home, see your 
father, tell him what you want ; make no promises if you are too 
weak to keep them.' 

' I wish you would let me come here sometimes and ask you 
what I am to do when in a hobble. You have brains.' 

' Do what I ask you now, and you may. It is vain to expect 
help if you will not follow advice.' 

' Upon my word,' said the young man, ' I wish it were possible 
for me to make you Mrs. Charlie Cheek, and then, maybe, you 
would be able to make a man of me.' 

* Not possible,' said Joanna. 
Why not ? ' 

< The material is not present out of which to make a man.' 



COURT ROYAL. 97 

Then both laughed, but Charles Cheek laughed constrainedly, 
and coloured. She had cut him to the quick, but the cut did 
him good. He was a kindly, easy-disposed young man, without 
guile, marred by bad bringing up. He had one rare and excellent 
quality : he was humble and knew his own shortcomings. Joanna 
was wrong. With that, the making of a man was in him. Had 
he been conceited, it would not. 

' How much do you want ? ' asked Lazarus, entering. He had 
heard them laugh, and supposed they had made a joke about him. 

1 Nothing,' answered the young man. ' I have changed my 
mind. I'll try my father again before I come to you, Bloodsucker !' 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

OVER A SNAIL. 

* WELL, Joe, flourishing ? ' 

* Middling, Charlie.' 

Joanna was seated in the shop of the Golden Balls next day 
behind the counter, engaged on her needlework, when Charles 
Cheek came in, and swung the door behind him, so that it clashed 
and jarred the glass. 

* You must not be violent,' said Joanna, ' or the breakages will 
go down to your bill along with the silk gown and the necklace. 
Why have you not gone to your father as you promised ? ' 

' I am ashamed to appear before him,' answered young Cheek. 
' If I tell him the truth he will kick me out of the house, and not 
pay my return ticket.' 

' Do you want a large sum ? ' 

' I lost my money in a way I daren't confess. My governor is 
a man of a practical turn of mind, and will insist on particulars. 
I am bad at invention, and if I begin to tell lies he will find me 
out, and be down on me like the steam-hammer at the docks ! ' 

( Then tell him the truth. That always answers, for no one 
believes it.' 

' I cannot. The case is too gross. This did it.' He drew a 
snail-shell from his pocket, and set it on the counter. ' Will you 
deal with me for this article ? It is a curiosity, and a costly one. 
It cost me a hundred pounds.' 

Joanna took up the snail-shell, and turned it about, then put it 

VOL. VI. NO. 31, N.S. 5 



98 COURT ROYAL. 

down contemptuously. ' There is nothing particular about this 
shell except its size.' 

4 Yes, there is. She is a racer. I lost a hundred pounds on her. 
I cannot tell my father that. I was proud of my snail, too, and 
now she is either dead or STilky. She has not put out her head 
since I lost my money on her.' 

' How did you manage that ? ' 

( By racing, I tell you.' Charles Cheek jumped on the counter 
and seated himself on it, close to Joanna. 

1 Will you take a chair ? ' she asked. 

* No, thank you. This is my only chance of getting you to 
look up to me. I am going to tell you about my snail.' He 
thrust the shell before her. ' Do look at this beast. She has lost 
me a hundred pounds.' 

Joanna continued sewing, without looking off her work. 

' Joe,' he said, ' what do you think of that ? ' 

' I had rather be the snail than you.' 

' I will tell you how it was. Captain Finch and I have played 
a good deal together of late at billiards, and we have also raced 
our snails. His is a very good runner. His regiment is under 
orders for India ; so we resolved to have a final trial between our 
snails for double or quits. Mine started right enough, but 
became lazy, and I touched her. When I did that, the snail, 
instead of running the faster, retreated within her shell. I was 
frightened, and applied the lighted end of my cigar to the shell. 
She ought to have rushed out, but, instead, went into sulks. She 
has not put out her horns since. Joe, you ought to sympathise 
with me and help me ; I had christened my racer after you.' 

4 My name is not Joe.' 

I My snail was called Joanna.' 

'Why did you name a snail after me? It was no compli- 
ment.' 

I 1 called her after the j oiliest girl I knew. I had to give her 
a name, and I could think only of you at the time. I can't tell 
my governor the story of the snail, can I ? Invent me something 
to take its place.' 

Joanna shook her head. ' I cannot do that,' she said gravely ; 
' I never tell a lie to Lazarus. If ever I see my mother again, I 
will be true to her in every word I utter. You must be true to 
your father. Whom can we be true to except our own parents ? 
As for the public ' her lips curled with scorn * there is no sin in 



COURT ROYAL. 



99 



lying to them. They love lies as rats love aniseed. Put your 
snail in water, and she'll put out her head.' 

' I never thought of that. Give me a saucer and water, and 
we will try. I dare say she is as dry as a sermon.' 

Joanna complied with his request. No customer came into 
the shop just then ; had one come, he would have seen two young 




heads bowed over a saucer with a little water in it, watching a 
snail. The one head was fair, the other dark ; the one face good- 
natured, feeble, the other full of character and intelligence. Both 
pleasant in appearance ; the young man good-looking, the girl 
beautiful ; he with almost boyish simplicity, she with womanly 
shrewdness. 

* She is stirring, by Jove ! ' exclaimed Charlie Cheek. 

5-2 



100 COURT ROYAL. 

' I said she would. I am never mistaken.' 

' It was a case of double or quits,' explained the young man ; 
* that is how I came to lose so much. There was a matter of fifty 
pounds between us, so when Finch proposed double or quits on a 
snail race, I said " Done ! " 

4 And done you are,' said Joanna. ' The snail was wiser than 
you. When burnt, she retired from the contest, and you perse- 
vered.' 

' There comes her head,' exclaimed Cheek. 

' Yours is to come,' said Joanna. 

' Don't be hard on me, Joe ; I shall get bad words enough 
from my father. He is a rough man, and lets his tongue play, 
and his tongue is a lash of iron. I confess to you I would to 
no one else I am ashamed of myself; I am too weak. I can't 
say No to a fellow.' 

' You are like the jelly-fish, carried ashore by the tide ; where 
the tide leaves them they lie, and dissolve away into nothing.' 

' You are hard on me.' 

' Is it not so ? A man should have backbone or he is nothing. 
1 was cast up by the tide, but I am solid.' 

' It is easy for you to talk. You have a head. I only wish 
you were my sister, to be always at my elbow.' 

' Last night you lamented that I was not your wife. Which do 
you mean ? ' 

The young man coloured and fidgeted. He drew his head 
away ; it had been in close proximity to hers, over the saucer. 

' Of course I am joking,' he said. 

' What, now, or last night ? ' She laughed, then said, * See ! 
I have frightened you by pretending to take your words as ear- 
nest. Do not be alarmed. I do not desire responsibility for a 
man, in either capacity, who is unable to care for himself.' 

( But Joanna ! this shall be my last folly. I solemnly swear 
it. You are the only person I know who has spoken plainly to 
me except my father, and he makes me mad, he hurts me. If 
ever I am disposed to give way when I ought to be firm, I'll re- 
member the jelly-fish.' 

He spoke in a tone of hurt pride and real distress. Joanna 
put forth her hand and grasped his, whilst her face shone with 
pleasure. ' That is right,' she said cheerily. ' It does my heart 
good to hear you speak thus. If you want to give me the 
greatest of pleasures, it will be to let me know that you have 



COURT ROYAL. 101 

kept your word, for, in spite of your weakness, I do like you. 
Moreover, to prove to you that I have confidence in you, I will 
help you now. You shall have the hundred pounds in a week.' 

' How will you get it ? ' asked the young man. ' Not from 
Lazarus, surely.' 

' No,' she replied, looking grave, * I would not for the world 
apply to him to lend it to me.' 

' Whence is it to come ? Not from your wages, saved ? ' 

* I receive no wages, I am a pawn.' 

' A hundred pounds ! You will obtain that for me ? ' 

I You shall know about it to-mcrrow. To-morrow you go to 
your father.' 

4 1 will go, certainly. How will you find the hundred pounds ? ' 

* Never mind. It shall be done to restore the credit of my 
name, as the snail bears it.' 

I 1 wish you would tell me how it is to be got.' 

'No, you will find out in time. I am not doing this for 
you, but for the sake of the snail that bears my name.' 

* Thank you, Joanna ; you said something different when you 
made the offer. I must pay Captain Finch before he sails ; a 
debt of honour is binding and must be paid, a debt to a trades- 
man may. If I had been unable to find the money, I think I 
should have destroyed myself.' 

' No,' said the girl, shaking her head. ' To do that demands 
a firmer character than you have got. How would you have done 
it, pray ? ' 

' I do not know. I dare say I should have jumped into the 
sea.' 

4 That is bad,' said Joanna ; * I have tried it.' 

What is good ? ' 

* There must be some easy way of slipping out of life when 
life becomes unendurable.' 

' Oh yes. The simplest of all is laudanum. That sends you 
to sleep, and you sleep away into the never-ending slumber.' 

* Repeat the name.' 

' What on earth can you want with laudanum ? You are not 
tired of existence, I suppose ? ' 
Joanna said nothing. 

* Oh, look at the snail ! ' exclaimed the young man. * She is 
getting out of the saucer, she is lively again. I might race her 
again and win back my hundred pounds.' 



102 COURT ROYAL. 

' No,' said Joanna, ' you have done with these follies. Life is 
serious, Mr. Cheek. It is a time for making money, not of throw- 
ing it away. I wish you had some of the monokeratic principle 
in you.' 

The young man started from the counter, and coloured to the 
roots of his hair. ' What do you know of that ? ' he asked 
sharply. * I hate the sound, and now it issues from your lips.' 

4 Why should you hate it ? It has been the means of making 
a fortune.' 

* It is a trouble to me. I suppose the officers I associate with 
know about my father, or I suspect they do, and every allusion 
to a unicorn cuts into me as i the beast itself were driving its 
horn between my ribs. There it is, plastered on every hoarding, 
with the inscription " Try Cheek's Monokeratic System.'" 

' I am sorry to have offended you. I do not see why you 
should dislike to hear of that which has made you.' 

' Wait, Joanna, till you are near the top of the tree, and then 
the words Grolden Balls will drive you frantic.' 

' Maybe,' said Joanna, * though I do not see why it should. 
But to return to what I was speaking about before you inter- 
rupted me. To my thinking you are leading an altogether un- 
worthy life. Life is a time for making money.' 

' Only for those born without it,' said the young man. ' My 
father has amassed a large fortune. It will be mine some day, no 
doubt. It is hard that I should be limited to a beggarly four 
hundred per annum. You would not have me make more 
money. That would indeed be carrying coals to Newcastle.' 

* No, but life has other objects for which a man may strive. 
There is position. Push for that. Your father is not a gentle- 
man, but you can be one.' 

' Well, I am working in that direction,' said Charles. ' I 
associate with officers, play billiards and cards, and ride and smoke 
and eat with them.' 

' And lose money to them on snails.' 

* Yes, all conduces to good fellowship. I am friends with 
those who would not meet my father. I have stepped from the 
counter to one of the shelves.' 

* I am glad your life is not aimless,' said the girl. ' If you 
are striving for position I can respect you ; an aimless life is to me 
despicable.' 

' I cannot say that I have ever thought much about a purpose,' 



COURT ROYAL. 103 

said Charles Cheek, * still I like to be with those who are my 
social superiors.' 

' And sometimes to have a chat with such as me your social 
inferior.' 

' No doubt about that, Joe.' 

* Well, Mr. Cheek, form a purpose, and drive hard after it.' 

' Joe ! ' The young man reseated himself on the counter, in 
a graver, more meditative mood than was common with him. 
4 Joe, I should like to have a photograph taken of you. Have 
you been photographed at any time ? ' 

She shook her head and laughed. 

* You are a girl to make a fellow think and try to do better. 
I should like to have your picture.' 

' I have had neither the time nor the money to waste on one,' 
she answered. 

* The money is nothing. Will you shut up shop for half an 
hour and come with me to the photographer ? I will pay the 
damage.' 

' I can close. It is now noon, and no business will be done 
at dinner-time. But I will consent on one condition only.' 
' Any condition you like to make.' 
' Let us three be taken in a group.' 
' What three ? You, Lazarus, and I ? ' 
' No, certainly not. You, I, and the snail.' 

* By all means. Immortalise my folly. I also will make a 
stipulation : will you grant it ? ' 

' What is it ? I am not like you. I do not offer blank 
cheques.' 

' Let us be taken holding hands. Just now, when I promised 
to amend, you flashed out with such a smile, and took my hand 
and said, " That is right ! " It sent a rush of blood to my heart, 
and I felt as if I had conquered the world. Let us be taken 
together, holding hands over the snail, and then I shall be nerved 
to keep my resolution. If disposed to break it, I shall look on 
the picture and blush.' 

'I consent. Promise me,' said Joanna, looking down and 
speaking slowly, ' that you will not be angry with me whatever 
you may hear to-morrow. If you are in trouble yourself, do not 
doubt but that I also shall have to go through humiliation before 
I can get the money.' 

* From whom will you get it ? ' 



104 COURT ROYAL. 

1 Never mind.' 

4 But I do mind. You won't do anything wrong, Joe, even 
for me ? ' 

* For the snail, you mean.' 

' I should never forgive myself if you got into trouble. I do 
respect you. There is not another girl in the world I think of 
or care for as you.' 



CHAPTER XL. 

CHEEK SENIOE. 



CHARLES CHEEK was on his way to town next day in an express 
second-class smoking carriage of the Great Western Kailway. He 
would have gone first, but his funds would not allow the extrava- 
gance. At the Kingsbridge Road station the door of the carriage 
was opened, and an elderly gentleman dashed in, drawing after 
him his portmanteau, then signalling through the window when 
the train was in motion that he had forgotten his bundle of rugs 
and umbrella on the platform. A porter picked them up, ran 
after the train, and thrust them through the window, knocking 
the cigar out of Charles Cheek's mouth and inflicting a dent on 
his hat. 

' Very sorry, upon my word,' said the owner of the articles. 
* When travelling one is liable to lose one's goods.' 

' Seeing that you have but your head, portmanteau, and 
bundle of rugs, the exertion of recollecting them cannot be ex- 
cessive.' 

' I never travel if I can help it,' said the other. ' I had just 
time to throw a shilling to the porter, but as I was agitated I 
don't know where it went and whether he saw it. Perhaps it fell 
under the rails and is flattened. When I am hot and flurried my 
sight fails me and my hand shakes. It does not matter. I will 
give the man another shilling on my return. Lord bless me ! I 
have got into a smoking carriage. Never mind, I do smoke for 
once in my life I am lucky. May this be an omen that my 
journey will be prosperous ! Sometimes I have got into a first 
class when I had a second-class ticket, and then had to pay the 
difference. Sometimes I have tumbled into a third class when I 
had paid fare by second, but the company never refunded. Why, 
bless my heart ! Surely I know your face ; you are the image of 



COURT ROYAL. 105 

your sainted mother, and have the Worthivale look about your 
eyes and mouth more than has my cross boy Beavis. Surely I 
am speaking to Mr. Charles Cheek ? ' 

* That is my name, sir, and have I the honour ' 

' Of meeting a relative. Your mother was my first cousin. I 
hear you have been at Plymouth. It is really too bad that you 
have never been near us. Only a pleasant cruise to Kingsbridge 
from Plymouth.' 

4 You have not invited me, sir. Are you Mr. Worthivale ? ' 

' The same. Steward to his Grace the Duke of Kingsbridge. 
We have a nice little place, Court Eoyal Lodge, and would have 
been proud to see you in it. I did not invite you ? Bless my 
soul ! how careless of me ! I have intended to do so, and tied 
knots in my pocket-handkerchief several times to remind me to 
write ; but when I came to find the knot I always recollected 
some omissions in my duty to his Grace, and thought the knot 
was tied in reference to that. You must excuse my neglect. I 
am so overwhelmed with business that I have no time to think 
of private affairs. You may be sure that you would always be 
welcome at the Lodge.' 

4 1 dare say you have much to occupy you now,' said 
Charles Cheek. * There is much talk in Plymouth about the 
break-up in the Duke's affairs. I hear they are in a very ugly 
mess.' 

' Mess ! ' exclaimed Mr. Worthivale, bridling ; ' mess is not a 
word that is seemly in such connection. A duke's affairs may 
become embroiled, an earl's involved, an ordinary squire's may 
fall into confusion, but only a tradesman's can get into a mess. 
There has been agricultural depression felt in the midlands 
and in the east of England, where much corn is grown, and 
some of the great landowners have had to retrench, and the 
smaller have been reduced to difficulties ; but here it is 
not so. A duke is something very different from a country 
squire.' 

Not a trace of a blush appeared on the steward's face as he 
told this lie. He was a man of scrupulous integrity, but to save 
the honour of the house he served he was ready to say anything 
who can tell? even do anything. Mr. Worthivale, who 
told this falsehood, was actually on his way to town to see the 
father of Charles Cheek, the wealthy tradesman, and to try to 
inveigle him into lending money to relieve the distress of the 



106 COURT ROYAL. 

family. He had written to Grudge, as agent for Mr. Emmanuel, 
requesting him to call at his house on a certain day. He had 
written to the other mortgagees, who were anxious and trouble- 
some, to pacify them with words if possible. And the words he 
had used to them were not strictly true. He was not satisfied 
that Emmanuel, and Emmanuel alone, would be satisfied with only 
promises. He had tortured his brains for many nights with 
schemes for raising money without a sale of property. All at 
once a brilliant idea flashed into his mind. He recollected Mr. 
Cheek, of the monokeratic system, who had married his pretty 
and sweet cousin, a Worthivale. He had not met Cheek since 
the funeral of Mrs. Cheek, but he knew about him and his son 
from the correspondence of relatives. He had not taken a liking 
to Mr. Cheek, who was a man of modern ideas, without patience 
with Conservatives and Churchmen, and held advanced ideas 
about the land laws and the extension of the franchise, and cried 
out for Disestablishment and the abolition of the House of Lords. 
Mr. Worthivale had heard also of young Charles, a careless, 
extravagant dog, who gave his father much trouble. Mr. Cheek 
had wished his son to enter the business, and had forced him, 
when he left school, to occupy a stool in the office, but Charles in 
an hour threw the accounts into such confusion that it took his 
father days to unravel them; and although he was tried in 
various departments of the establishment, he proved such a failure 
in all that his father was fain to let him go his own way. Charles 
had desired to enter the army, but Mr. Cheek would not hear of 
this, and battled against his son's inclination till the young man 
was past the age at which he could obtain a commission. Then 
only did he admit to himself that he had made a mistake. In the 
army Charles would have had a profession and something to 
occupy him, and he seemed fit for no other profession, and to 
care for no other occupation. The father proposed that he should 
read for the Bar, but the disinclination of Charles for legal studies 
soon manifested itself. For medicine he was too thoughtless, 
and Mr. Cheek was forced to let him live as an idler. The father 
had been so accustomed to work, and to associate work with the 
first duty of man, even though that work was to throw dust in 
the eyes of the public, that it was with the utmost reluctance 
that he consented to find Charles an income of four hundred a 
year, and to let him live as he liked, associating with officers, 
losing money to them, entertaining them, and being laughed at 



COURT ROYAL. 107 

by them behind his back. Charles had got into trouble several 
times, and his father had paid his debts, each time with angry 
reproaches and threats of disinheritance. 

Worthivale had heard that the elder Cheek had amassed a 
large fortune, which his son's extravagance might impair but could 
not exhaust. He had taken it into his head that nothing would 
be easier for him than to persuade old Mr. Cheek to lend the 
necessary thousands for the saving of the Duke. This was the 
new web of fancy spun by his hopes, attached to no probabilities, 
floating in his brain like the gossamer of autumn ; and in this 
vain hope he was on his way to town. 

* I am going to drop in on your father,' said Mr. Worthivale. 
' I cannot think of going to town without looking him up. It is 
many years since we met, and when we get old we cling to old 
acquaintances. Are you going directly home ? If so, tell him I 
shall turn up.' 

* Oh no ! I shall put up at an hotel. I am not so keen 
after the shelter of the paternal wing.' 

4 1 rather want to see your father this evening. I have so 
much business to occupy my day that I can ill spare other time. 
Am I likely to find him at home of an evening ? ' 

1 Sure to catch him. He never goes to the theatre or concerts. 
You could not wring five words out of him during business hours. 
I shall not drop in on him to-morrow till after the Monokeros has 
drawn in his horn.' 

' If that be so,' said the steward, ' I will take a cab after I have 
had my dinner and go to him. It is as well that we should not 
be there together ; he and I will like to have a chat over old times 
times before you were born.' 

Accordingly, on reaching town, Mr. Worthivale drove to his 
inn, ordered a simple dinner, and when he had done, took a han- 
som to his destination. 

Mr. Cheek had just dined, and was lingering over his glass of 
wine when the steward was announced. He told the servant to 
show Mr. Worthivale in to him in the dining-room. This was a 
large apartment with a red flock paper on the walls, and a Turkey 
carpet on the floor. The furniture was of heavy mahogany, 
polished, his chairs covered with red leather. The window-curtains 
were of red rep. Against the walls hung some large engravings 
Landseer's dog looking out of a kennel, the Newfoundlander 
lying on a quay, Bolton Abbey in the olden time pictures every 



108 COURT ROYAL. 

one has seen and knows as he knows the airs of ' Trovatore ' and 
the taste of peppermint. 

Over the fireplace was a looking-glass ; on the table were 
oranges, almonds, raisins, and mixed biscuits. Everything was 
in the room that was to be expected ; nothing there that was 
unexpected. Tottenham Court Eoad had furnished it. A man's 
room reflects his mind. Everything there was solid, sound, and 
commonplace. 

Mr. Worthivale had no time to look round him. He ran for- 
ward and effusively shook hands with Mr. Cheek, who rose cere- 
moniously, and received his greeting without great cordiality, but 
with civility. 

' Take a chair, Worthivale ; glad to see you. Have port or 
sherry ? If you prefer claret I will have some decanted. Don't 
drink it myself. Take an orange or raisins. I will ring and 
have some more almonds brought in. I have eaten most. Take 
some biscuits ; you will find a ratafia here and there under the 
others. I have eaten those on the top. I hope you are well. I 
have not seen you for twelve years and a half.' 

* So much as that ? You do not say so ! ' 

' You have not visited me since my wife's death.' 
' I may retort on you. I live in the country. You Londoners 
need a holiday. Why have you not fled the fogs and smoke, and 
come to me for sea air and the landscape of South Devon ? ' 

* I never take a holiday. Can't afford it. Work always goes 
on, and always needs my presence. When the Londoners leave 
town, the country folk come up, and purchase for the ensuing 
year.' 

Mr. Cheek was a heavily built man, with a long head and face, 
the latter flat, with a nose sticking out of it, much as the Peak of 
Teneriffe pokes out of the sea led up to by no subsidiary eleva- 
tions, abrupt, an afterthought. His eyebrows were black, but 
his hair was grey, and disposed to retreat from the temples, which 
were highly polished. He wore a grey thick Newgate collar, a 
black frock coat, black trousers, black waistcoat relieved by a 
heavy gold chain, a good deal of white shirt front, turned-down 
collars, necessitated by the Newgate fringe,' and a black tie. He 
always smelt of black dye, for his cloth clothes were always new 
and glossy and uncreased. He had a trick of stretching his arms 
with a jerk forward at intervals, exposing much cuff, acquired 
from wearing new coats that were not easy under the arm. His 



COURT ROYAL. 109 

eyes were dark and penetrating, his lips firm. From his nostrils 
two very dark creases descended to the corners of his mouth, 
like gashes in which lay black blood. The old man seemed very 
lonely in his dining-room, without a companion with whom to 
exchange ideas, and only a choice between almonds and raisins, 
ratafia, and macaroons, but he did not seem to feel it ; as he ate and 
drank he schemed fresh plans for making money, and that was 
his delight. A companion would have discussed less profitable 
and interesting topics. 

Worthivale spent an hour with old Cheek, telling him about 
himself, his position at Court Koyal, the splendour of the Kings- 
bridge family, the virtues of the Duke, and Lord Eonald and the 
Marquis, and the unapproachable charms of Lady Grace. 

The steward went on to talk about the estates, the prospect of 
making a second Torquay out of Bigbury Bay, of the chance of 
converting the creek of Kingsbridge into a harbour, of the build- 
ing stone on the estates, of the shale from which petroleum might 
be extracted, of the slate quarries that only needed opening out 
and connecting with the sea by a line to supply and roof in the 
whole south coast of England. 

Mr. Cheek had listened with indifference to the enumeration 
of the merits of the members of the noble house, but when the 
steward touched on .speculative ventures his interest was excited. 
He ate all the almonds off the raisin dish as fast as he could chew 
them, and then rang to have the dish replenished. 

Mr. Worthivale hinted that his Grace was in need of tem- 
porary accommodation, owing to the extravagance of his ancestors 
and the calling up of some of the mortgages, and he suggested 
that a better and safer investment for floating capital could not 
be found. 

Mr. Cheek listened with close attention, but said nothing. 
Such investments apparently possessed no attraction for him. The 
steward, with all his eloquence, had made no way. 

Nevertheless, Worthivale did not abandon hope. The wealthy 
tradesman had not disputed the feasibility of his schemes, had not 
said, in so many words, that he would have nothing to do with the 
mortgages. 

Then the conversation drifted to young Charles. Mr. Worthi- 
vale said that he had come to town with him. 

' I know what he wants money,' said the father, with im- 
perturbable countenance. ' Never made a penny himself.' 



110 COURT ROYAL. 

' I am afraid he gives you a good deal of trouble,' said the 
steward. 

' Fine fellow,' answered old Cheek. * Grood looks. Keady 
address. A figure. No Devonshire twang. Can't get the R's 
and the U's right myself. Never shall. Grass is long grass with 
me, never cropped grass.' 

* Charles is a very pleasant-looking fellow,' said Mr. Worthivale,. 
* the image of his dear mother.' 

1 Mentally, morally, physically,' acquiesced the trader ; ' can't 
expect every man to take to business.' 

* No,' said Mr. Worthivale ; * it is born in some, not in others, 
like an ear for music, a taste for sport, and a hand for carving a 
goose.' 

* Suppose so,' said Mr. Cheek. 

( It takes two generations to make a gentleman,' reasoned Mr. 
Worthivale, ' and even then there always remains lurking in the 
system a je-ne-sais-quoiJ 

' A what ? ' exclaimed Mr. Cheek, looking frightened. ' Is it 
in the skin ? ' 

' Only a French expression,' exclaimed the steward. 

4 Never understood other than one foreign word, and that 
monokeratic, for which I paid five guineas,' said Mr. Cheek. * I 
wanted a suitable word, I went to an Oxford scholar, and said, 
find me the word, and I'll find you a five-pound note and five 
shillings. That's how I came by it.' 

Neither spoke. The steward was peeling an orange. Presently 
Mr. Cheek began to move uneasily in his chair, to swell and puff. 
Then out came a confidence. * Charles is a trouble to me. I fill 
the barrel, and when I'm gone he'll turn the tap and let it run. 
No fortune can stand a running tap. I wish I knew how to cure 
him. This consciousness takes the taste out of my profits. It is 
like eating bread from which the salt is omitted in the making.' 

'Take my advice,' said Worthivale; ' mix him in good society. 
He hangs about a garrison town for the sake of the officers, but 
he never associates with the better class of officers, only with 
those who like his dinners, and bleed him at billiards. He never 
sees the ladies, and it is ladies who humanise, civilise, and 
refine.' 

' Can't do it. I'm not in society myself. Shop stands in the 
way.' 

' I wish I could persuade him to come to Court Eoyal Lodge, 



COURT ROYAL. 1H 

and pay me a long visit. I could introduce him to people of the 
first quality, and show him something better than gambling 
officers and fast ladies. You will never do anything with him, 
Cheek, till you have put him in a situation where his better 
qualities may be drawn out, and he may learn to blush at his 
weaknesses.' 

' If he were up here in town,' said the father, scratching his 
nose meditatively with a stalk of raisins, * it might be done by 
paying. Some quality people do come to my shop. They don't 
put on their best bonnets and come in their own carriages when 
they do, but I know 'em. A long bill might be forgiven some 
lady of rank and fashion if she would invite Charles to dinner or a 
dance such things are done just to give him the chance of 
putting his foot into high society. If he were once in, Charlie 
could maintain himself there. Society would want him when it 
had seen him. I wouldn't mind paying, but it can't be done. 
Charlie cares only for officers, and is either at Portsmouth or 
Plymouth, befooled by them out of his my money.' 

* Send him to me.' 

* I don't suppose he would care for the country. Nothing to 
be done there.' 

' He can see the magnificent grounds. He can boat. He can 
shoot.' 

' Grounds anywhere. Mount Edgcumbe open to public on 
Wednesdays. Boating to be had at Plymouth. This is not the 
time of year for shooting.' 

* True. Let him come to me in the shooting season.' 

* Many months to that. Meantime he may have gone to the 
bad.' 

* I invited him to-day to visit me, and he did not decline.' 

' Too much of a gent for that,' said the father. ' Mischief is 
he can't say Nay. He will promise you a call, and never go. I 
know him. He promises reform every time he comes for money, 
but never reforms.' 

1 He is entangled in a social stratum a sort of Bohemianism, 
that will not allow him to reform. Get him out of that, and he 
will be another man. My Beavis never gives me an hour's con- 
cern, because he associates with the family at Court Royal. The 
Marquis loves him as a brother. Beavis would do your boy an in- 
finity of good. Beavis is a fine, strong-willed, honourable fellow, 
with a tender heart and a true conscience.' 



112 COURT ROYAL. 

* Charlie, also, is a fine fellow,' said old Cheek, who could not 
endure to have another young man contrasted favourably with his 
own son. ' The mischief is, I was too busy all my days, and 
could not see enough of him. Only wants his chance now.' 

4 Well,' said Worthivale, standing up, ' I must be off now. 
Good-bye, Cheek. It is a real pleasure to me to meet you again.' 

' Dine with me the day after to-morrow. Seven punctually.' 

1 1 shall be delighted.' 

He left the old man sitting looking before him at the dish of 
biscuits from which he had exterminated the ratafias. Every now 
and then he turned over the biscuits with his finger, but his mind 
was not on the ratafias. He sjiook his long head at intervals, and 
said, * If that were to happen if Charlie were to be so weak as 
that and he can't say No least of all to a woman he would be 
done for irretrievably.' 

(To be continued.} 



THE 

COKNHILL MAGAZINE. 



FEBRUARY, 1886. 

QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 
BY MRS. OLIPHANT, 

CHAPTER VI. 

PERPLEXITIES. 

WHAT was she to do ? 

It is not often in life that a woman is brought to such an 
emergency without warning, without time for preparation. She 
did nothing at all at first, and felt capable of nothing but to stare 
blankly, almost stupidly, at her supplanter. She did not feel 
capable even of rising from the chair into which she had sunk in 
the utter blank of consternation. She could only gaze, interro- 
gating not the face before her only, but heaven and earth. Was 
it true ? Could it be true ? 

The young woman was evidently surprised by this pause. She 
too looked curiously at her visitor, waited for a minute, and then 
advancing a, step, asked, with a tone in which there was some 
surprise and a faint shadow of impatience, ' Is it anything that I 
can do ? ' 

' Have you been married long ? ' This was all the visitor 
could say. 

A pretty blush came over the other's face. ' We were married 
in the end of April,' she said. It still seemed quite natural to 
her that everybody should be interested in this great event. ' We 
went abroad for a month. And we were so lucky as to find this 
house. You know my husband ? ' 

' I think so : well j his Christian name is ' 

' Robert is his Christian name. Oh, I am so glad to meet with 
any one who has known him ! ' She drew a chair with a pretty 

VOL. VI. NO. 32, N.S. 6 



114 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

vivacious movement close to that on which her visitor sat. 'I 
feel sure,' she said, * you are a relation, and have come to find out 
about us.' 

There was something in the young creature's air so guileless, 
so assured in her innocence, that if there had been any fury in the 
other's heart, or on her tongue, it must have been arrested then ; 
but there was no fury in her heart. After the first unspeakable 
shock of surprise there was nothing but a great pang, and that 
almost more for this young life blighted than for her own. ' It 
is true.' she said, 'that I am a connection. Is your mother 
alive ? ' 

' Mamma ? ' cried the girl,* with a laugh. ' Oh yes, and she is 
here to-day. She does not live with us, you know. She would 
not. She says married people should be left to themselves ; though. 
I always told her Mr. Landon was far too sensible to believe 
in that trash about mothers-in-law. Don't you think it is rubbish ? 
Young men may believe it ; but when a gentleman is experienced 
and knows the world ' 

* Perhaps I could see your mother,' said the old wife. She felt 
herself growing a little faint. The day was warm, and she had 
been travelling all night. Was not that enough to account for 
it ? And this happy babble in her ear made her heart sick, which 
was more. 

' Mamma ? Oh yes, certainly she will be very glad to see 
you. She always wanted to see some of the relations. She said 
it was not natural ; though, to be sure, at his age - Shall I go 
and tell her you want to see her her and not me ? But you 
must not take any prejudice against me. Don't, please, if you 
are his relation : and you look so nice too. I know I should love 
you if you would let me.' 

* Let me see your mother. I have no prejudice.' She 
scarcely knew what she was saying. The room was swimming in 
her eyes, the green of the closed blinds waving up and down, 
surrounding her with an uncertain mist of colour, through which 
she seemed to see a half-reproachful, wondering look. And then 
the white figure was gone. Mrs. Lycett-Landon leant her head 
upon the back of the chair, and for a minute knew nothing more. 
Then 'the greenness became visible again, and gradually every- 
thing wavered and circled back into its place. 

The little house was very still ; there were hurried steps over- 
head, as if two people were moving about. It was the mother 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 115 

hastily being put in order for a visitor ; her cap arranged, a clean 
collar put on ; the young wife dancing about her in great excite- 
ment to make all nice. This process of decoration occupied some 
time, and as it went on the visitor came fully to herself. What 
should she do? As she recovered full command of herself she 
shrunk from inflicting such a blow even upon the mother. Should 
she go away before they came down ? disappear like a dream, 
take no notice, but leave the strange little drama what was it, 
comedy or tragedy ? to work itself out ? Why should she in- 
terfere, after all ? If he liked this best and all the harm was 
now done that could be done ; the best thing was to go away and 
take no more notice. She had risen with this intention, to slip 
away, to let herself out, not to interfere, when another sound 
became audible, the sound of a door opening in the back part 
of the house. Then a voice called ' Kose,' a voice which, in spite 
of herself, made the visitor's brain swim once more. She had 
to stop again perforce. And then a step came towards the room 
in which she was ; a heavy step, with a little, gouty limp in it 
a step she knew so well. It came along the passage, accom- 
panied by a running commentary of half-complaint. * Where are 
you ? I want you.' Then the door of the little drawing-room 
was pushed open. * Why don't you answer me ? ' He paused 
there in the doorway," seeing a stranger with a quick apology 
* I beg your pardon.' Then suddenly there came from him a cry 
a roar like that of a wounded animal ' ELEANOR ! ' 

Neither of the two ever forgot the appearance of the other. 
She saw him with the little passage and its stronger light opening 
behind him, his large figure relieved against it ; the sudden 
look of consternation, horror, utter amaze in his face. Horror 
came first ; and then everything yielded to the culprit's sense of 
unspeakable downfall, guilt self-convicted and without excuse. 
He fell back against the wall ; his jaw dropped ; his eyes seemed 
to turn upon themselves in a flicker of mortal dismay. The entire 
failure of all force and self-defence did not disarm his wife, as might 
have been supposed, but filled her with a blaze of sudden vehe- 
mence, passion which she could not contain. She had said his 
name as he said hers, in a quiet tone enough ; but now stamped 
her foot and cried out, feeling it intolerable, insupportable. 
' Well ! ' she cried, ' stand up for it like a man ! Say you are sick 
of me, of your children, of living honestly these fifty years. Say 
something for yourself. Don't stand there like a whipped child.' 

62 



116 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

But the man bad nothing to say. He stood against the wall 
and looked at her as if he feared a personal assault. Then he 
said, ' She is not to blame. She is as innocent as you are.' 

' I have seen her,' said the injured wife. ' Do you think you 
need to tell me that ? But then, what are you ? ' 

He made no reply. And the sight of him in the doorway" was 
unbearable to the woman. If he had stood up for himself, made 
a fight of any kind, it would have been more tolerable. But the 
very sight of him was insupportable something she could not 
endure. She turned her head away and went quickly past him 
towards the open door. ' I meant to tell her mother.' She scarcely 
knew whether she was speaking or only thinking. ' I meant to 
tell her mother, but I cannot. You must manage it your own way.' 

Next moment she found herself out in the street walking 
along under the shadow of the blank wall. She was conscious of 
having closed both doors behind her, that of the house and that 
of the garden. If she could but have closed the door of her own 
mind, and put it out of sight, and shut it up for ever ! She hurried 
away, walking very quickly round one corner after another, 
through one street after another, of houses enclosed in walls and 
railings, withdrawn among flowers and trees. You may walk long 
through these quiet places without finding what she wanted, a cab 
to take her out of this strange, still, secluded town of villas. When 
she found one at last, she told the driver to take her back to the 
Euston, but first to drive round Hyde Park. He thought she 
must be mad. But that did not matter much so long as she was 
able to pay the fare. "And then there followed what she had 
wanted, a long, endless progress through a confusion of streets, first 
quiet, full of gardens and retired houses ; then the long bustling 
thoroughfares leading back into the noisy world of London ; then 
the quiet streets on the north side of the park, the trees of 
Kensington Gardens, the old red palace, the endless line of railings 
and trees on the other side ; the bustle of Piccadilly, so unlike the 
bustle of the other streets. Naturally the hansom could not go 
within the enclosure of the park, but only by the streets. But 
she did not care for that. She wanted movement, the air in her 
face, silence so that she might think. 

So that she might think ! But a woman can no more think 
when she wills than she can be happy when she wills. All that 
she thought was this, going over and over it, and back and back 
upon it, putting it involuntarily into words and saying them to 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 117 

herself like a sort of dismal refrain. At fifty ! After living 
honestly all these fifty years ! Was it possible ? was it in the 
heart of man ? At fifty, after all these years ! This wonder was 
so great that she could think of nothing else. And he had been a 
good man : kind, ready to help ; not hard upon any one : fond 
of his family, liking to have them about him. And now at fifty ! 

after living honestly . She did not think of it as a matter 

affecting herself, and she could not think of what she was to do, 
which was the thing she had intended to think of, when she bade 
the man drive to the other end of the world. When she per- 
ceived, as she did dimly in the confusion of her mind, that she 
was approaching the end of her long round, she would but for 
very shame have gone over it all again. But by this time she 
had begun to see that little would be gained by staving it off for 
another hour, and that sooner or later she must descend from that 
abstract wandering, which had been more like a wild flight into 
space than anything else, and meet the realities of her position. 
Ah heavens ! the realities of her position were first of all, Horace, 
her boy her grown-up boy : no longer a child to whom a family 
misfortune could be slurred over, but a man, able* to understand, 
old enough to know. Her very heart died within her as this 
suddenly flashed upon her deadened intelligence. Horace and 
Milly a young man* and a young woman. How was she to tell 
them what their father had done ? At fifty ! after all these 
years ! 

She was told at the hotel that the young gentleman had gone 
out for which she was deeply thankful but would be back im- 
mediately. Oh, if he might but be detained ; if something would 
but happen to keep him away ! She came up the great vulgar 
common stairs which so many people trod, some perhaps with 
hearts as heavy as hers, few surely with such a problem to resolve. 

How to tell her boy that his father oh God ! his father, 

whom he loved and looked up to ; his kind father, who never 
grudged him anything ; a man so well known ; a good man, of 

whom everybody spoke well to tell him that his father . 

She locked the door of her room instinctively, as if that would keep 
Horace out, and keep her secret concealed. 

It was one of those terrible hotel rooms, quite comfortable and 
wholly unsympathetic, in which many of the sorest hours of life 
are passed, where parents come to part with their children, to 
receive back their prodigals, to look for the missing, to receive 



118 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

tidings of the worse than dead ; where many a reconciliation has 
to be accomplished, and arrangement made that breaks the heart. 
Strange and cold and miserable was the unaccustomed place, with 
no associations or soothing, no rest or softness in it. She walked 
about it up and down, and then stopped, though the movement 
gave her a certain relief, lest Horace should come to the door, hear 
her, and call out in his hearty young voice to be admitted. She 
had not been able to think before for the recurrence of that dismal 
chorus, * At fifty ! ' and now she could not think for thinking that any 
moment Horace might come to the door. She was more afraid 
of her boy than of all the world beside : had some one come 
to tell her that an accident had happened, that he had broken 
an arm or a leg, it seemed to her that she would have been 
glad : anything rather than let him know. And yet he would 
have to know. The eldest son, a man grown, after his father the 
head of his family, the one who would have to take care of the 
children. How would it be possible to keep this from him ? 
And how could it be told ? His mother, who had prided herself 
on her son's spotless youth, and rejoiced in the thought that a 
wanton word was as impossible from the lips of Horace as from 
those of Milly, reddened and felt her very heart burn with shame. 
How could she tell him ? She could not tell him. It was im- 
possible ; it was beyond her power. 

And then she shrank into the corner of her seat and held her 
breath : for who could this be but Horace, with a foot that scarcely 
seemed to touch the ground, rushing with an anxious heart to 
hear news of his father, up the echoing empty stair ? 



CHAPTER VII. 

EXPLANATION. 

' MOTHER ! are you there ? Let me in. Mother ! open the door.' 
' In a moment, Horace ; in a moment.' It could not be post- 
poned any longer. She rose up slowly and looked at herself in 
the glass to see if it was written in her face. She had not taken 
off her bonnet or made any change in her outdoor dress, and she 
was very pale, almost ghastly, with all the lines deepened and 
drawn in her face, looking ten years older, she thought. She put 
her bonnet straight with a woman's instinct, and then slowly, re- 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 119 

luctantly, opened the door. He came in eager and impatient, 
not knowing what to think. 

' Did you want to keep me out, mother ? Were you vexed 
not to find me waiting ? And how about papa ? ' 

* No, Horace, not at all vexed.' 

* I went a little further than I intended. I don't know my 
way about. But, mother, what of papa ? ' 

' Not very much, iny dear,' she said, turning away. * It must 
be nearly time for lunch.' 

' Yes, it is quite time for lunch ; and you had no breakfast. 
I told them to get it ready as I came up. But you don't answer 
me. Of course you found him. Is he really ill ? What does he 
mean by it ? Why didn't he come with yflu ? Mother dear, is it 
anything serious ? How pale you are ! Oh, you needn't turn away ; 
you can't hide anything from me. What is the matter, mamma ? ' 

* It is serious, and yet it isn't serious, Horace. He is not ill, 
which is the most important thing. Only a little seedy, as you 
call it. That's a word, you know, that always exasperates me.' 

' Is that all ? ' the youth said, looking at her with incredulous 
eyes. 

She had turned her back upon him, and was standing before 
the glass, with a pretence of taking off her bonnet. It was easier 
to speak without looking at him. ' No, my dear, that is not all. 
You will think it very strange what I am going to say. Papa 
and I have had a quarrel, Horace.' 

1 Mother ! ' 

* You may well be startled, but it is true. Our first quarrel,' 
she said, turning half round with the ghost of a smile. It was the 
suggestion of the moment at which she had caught to make up 
for the impossibility of thinking how she was to do it. ' They say, 
you know, that the longer one puts off a thing of this kind the 
more badly one has it, don't you know? measles and other natural 
complaints. We have been a long time without quarrelling, and 
now we have done it badly.' She turned round with a faint 
smile ; but Horace did not smile. He looked at her very gravely, 
with an astonishment beyond words. 

* I cannot understand,' he said almost severely, ' what you can 
mean.' 

' Well, perhaps it is a little difficult ; but still such things do 
happen. You must not jump at the conclusion that it is all my 
fault.' 



120 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

Horace caine up to her with his serious face, and put his arm 
round her, turning her towards him. < I was not thinking of any 
fault, mother : but surely I may know more than this ? You 
and he don't quarrel for nothing, and I am not a child. You 
must tell me. Mother, what is the matter ? ' he said, with great 
alarm. For she was overdone in every way, worn out both body 
and mind, and when she felt her son's arm round her nature gave 
way. She leant her head upon his young shoulder, and fell into 
that convulsive sobbing which it is so alarming to bear. It was 
some time before she could command herself enough to reply, 

' Oh, that is true that is true ! not for nothing. But, dear 
Horry, you can't be the judge, can you, between your father 
and mother ? Oh no ! Leave it a little ; only leave it. It will 
perhaps come right of itself.' 

' Mother, of course I can't be the judge ; but still, I'm not a 
child. May I go, then, and see papa ? ' 

' Oh no,' she cried, involuntarily clasping his arm tight * oh 
no ! not for the world.' 

The youth grew very grave ; he withdrew his arm from her 
almost unconsciously, and said, ' Either it is a great deal more 
serious than you say, or else ' 

' It is very serious, Horace. I don't deceive you,' she said. 
* It may come to that that we shall never be together any 
more. But still I implore you, don't go to your father oh ! not 
now, my dear. He would not wish it. You must give me your 
word not to go.' 

She could not bear the scrutiny of his eyes. She turned and 
went away from him, putting off her light cloak, pulling open 
drawers as if in a search for something ; but he stood where she 
had left him, full of perplexity and trouble. A quarrel between his 
parents was incredible to Horace ; and the idea of a rupture, a 
public scandal, a thing that could be talked about ! He stood 
still, overwhelmed by sudden trouble and distress, though without 
the slightest guess of the real tragedy. ' I can't think what you 
could quarrel about,' he said. ' It seems a mere impossibility. 
Whatever it is, you must make it up, mother, for our sakes.' 

1 My dear, anything that can be done, you may be sure will 
be done, for your sakes.' 

1 But it is impossible, you know. A quarrel ! between you 
and papa! It is out of the question. Nobody would believe it. 
I think you must be joking all the time,' he said, with an abrupt 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 121 

laugh. But his laugh seemed so strange, even to himself, that he 
became silent suddenly with a look of. confusion and irritation. 
Never in his life had he met with anything so extraordinary before. 

' I am not joking,' she said ; ' but, perhaps, after a while . 

Come and have your luncheon, Horace. I know you want it. 
And perhaps after a time ' 

* You are worn out too, mother ; that is what it is. One feels 
irritable when one is tired. After you have eaten something and 
rested yourself, let me go to papa. And we'll have a jolly dinner 
together and make it all up.' 

And she had the heroism to say no more, but went down with 
him, and pretended to eat, and saw him make a hearty meal. 
While she sat thus smiling at her boy, she could not but wonder 
to herself what he was doing. Was he smiling too, keeping up a 
cheerful face for the sake of the unfortunate girl not much older 
than Horace ? (rod help her whom he had destroyed ! She kept 
imagining that other scene while she enacted her own. After- 
wards she persuaded Horace with some difficulty to let everything 
stand over till next day, telling him that she had great need of 
rest (which was true enough) and would lie down ; and that 
next evening would be time enough for any further steps. She 
insisted so upon her need of rest, that he remembered that Dick 
Fareham had asked Kim to dine with him at his club, and go to 
the theatre if he had nothing better to do a plan which she 
caught at eagerly. 

' But how can I go and leave you alone in a hotel ? ' he said. 

* My dear, I am going to bed,' she replied, which was un- 
answerable. And after many attempts to know more, and many 
requests to be allowed to go to his father, Horace at last yielded, 
dressed, and went off to the early dinner which precedes a play. 
He had brought his dress clothes with him, though there had been 
so little time for feasting, confident that even a few days in London 
must bring pleasure of some kind. And already the utterly 
absurd suggestion that his father and mother could have had a 
deadly quarrel began to lose its power in his mind. It was im- 
possible. His mother was worn out, and had been irritable ; and 
his father, especially when he had a touch of gout, was, as 
Horace well knew, irritable also. To-morrow all that would have 
blown away, and they would both be ashamed of themselves. 
Thus he consoled himself as he went out ; and as the youth never 
had known what family strife or misfortune meant, and in his 

65 



122 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

heart felt anything of the kind to be impossible, it did not take 
much to drive that incomprehensible spectre away. 

Mrs. Lycett-Landon was at length left alone to deal with it by 
herself. What was she to do? She had a fire lighted in the 
blank room, though it was the height of summer, for agitation 
and misery had made her cold and sat over it trembling, and 
trying to collect her thoughts. Oh, if it could be but possible to 
do nothing, to say no word to any one, to forget the episode of 
this morning altogether ! 'If I had not known,' she said to herself, 
' it would have done me no harm.' This modern Eleanor, who had 
fallen so innocently into Rosamond's bower, had no thought of 
vengeance in her heart. She had no wish to kill or injure the 
unhappy girl who had come between her and her husband. What 
good would that do? Were Eosamond made an end of in a 
moment, how would it change the fact ? What could ever alter 
that? The ancients did not take this view of the subject. They 
took it for granted that when the intruder was removed life went 
on again in the same lines, and that nothing was irremediable. 
But to Mrs. Lycett-Landon life could never go on again. It had 
all come to a humiliating close ; confusion had taken the place of 
order, and all that had been, as well as all that was to be, had 
grown suddenly impossible. Had she not stopped herself with an 
effort, her troubled mind would have begun again that painful 
refrain which had filled her mind in the morning, which was 
perhaps better than the chaos which now reigned there. So far 
as he was concerned she could still wonder and question, but for 
herself everything was shattered. She could neither identify 
what was past nor face what was to come. Everything surged 
wildly about her, and she found no footing. What was to be 
done ? These words intensify all the miseries of life they make 
death more terrible, since it so often means the destruction of all 
settled life for the living, as well as the end of mortal troubles 
for the dead they have to be asked at moments when the answer 
is impossible. This woman could find no reply as she sat miser- 
able over her fire. She was not suffering the tortures of jealousy, 
nor driven frantic with the thought that all the tenderness 
which ever was hers was transferred to another. Perhaps her 
sober age delivered her from such reflections ; they found no 
place at all in the tumult of her thoughts : the questions involved 
to her were wholly different : what she was to do ; how she was 
to satisfy her children without shaming their youth and her own 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 123 

mature purity of matronhood which had protected them from any 
suggestion of such evil ? How they were ever to be silenced and 
contented without overthrowing for ever in their minds their father 
and the respect they owed him ? This was the treble problem 
which was before her by degrees the all-absorbing one which 
banished every other from her thoughts. What could she say to 
Horace and Milly ? How were they to be kept from this shame ? 
Had they been both boys or both girls, it seemed to their mother 
that the question would have been less terrible ; but boy and girl, 
young man and young woman, how were they ever to be told ? How 
were they to be deceived and not told ? Their mother's powers 
gave way and all her strength in face of this question. How was 
she to do it ? How was she to refrain from doing it ? That 
pretext of a quarrel, how was it to be kept up ? and in what other 
way in what other way, oh heaven ! was she to explain to them 
that their father and she could meet under the same roof no more ? 
She covered her face with her hands, and wept in the anguish of 
helplessness and incapacity ; then dried her eyes, and tried again 
to plan what she could do. Oh that she had the wings of a dove, 
that she might flee away and be at rest ! but whither could she 
flee? She thought of pretending some sudden loss of money, 
some failure of fortune, and rushing away with the children to 
America, to Australia, to the end of the world ; but if she did so, 
what then ? would it become less necessary, more easy to explain ? 
Alas ! no ; nothing could change that horrible necessity. The best 
thing of all, she said to herself, if she were equal to it, would be 
to return home, to live there as long as it was possible, with her 
heart shut up, holding her peace, saying nothing as long as it 
was possible ! until circumstances should force upon her the ex- 
planation which would have to be made. Let it be put off for 
weeks, for months, even for years, it would have to be made at last. 
Thus she sat pondering, turning over everything, considering 
and rejecting a thousand plans ; and then, after all, acted upon a 
sudden impulse, a sudden rising in her of intolerable loneliness and 
insufficiency. She felt as if her brain were giving way, her mind be- 
coming blank before this terrible emergency which must be decided 
upon at once. Horace was safe for a few hours, separated from 
all danger, but how to meet his anxious face in the light of another 
day his mother did not know. She sprang up from her seat, and 
reached towards the table on which there were pens and ink, and 
wrote a telegram quickly, eagerly, without pausing to think. The 



124 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

young ones were in the habit of laughing at old Fareham. She 
herself had joined in the laugh before now, and allowed that he 
was methodical and tedious and tiresome. He was all these, and 
yet he was an old friend, the oldest friend she had, one who had 
known her father, who had seen her married, who had guided 
her husband's first steps in the way of business. He was the only 
person to whom she could say anything. And he was a merciful 
old man : when troubles arose when clerks went wrong, or debtors 
failed, Mr. Fareham's opinion was always on the side of mercy. 
This was one of the reasons why they called him an old fogey in 
the office ; always, always he had been merciful. And it was this 
now which came into her mind. She wrote her telegram hastily, 
and sent it off at once, lest she should repent, directing it not to 
the office, where it might be opened by some other hand than his, 
but to his house. ' Come to me directly if you can. I have great 
need of your advice and help. Tell no one,' was what she said. 
She liked, like all women, to get the full good of the permitted 
space. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

EXPEDIENTS. 

His mother was in bed and asleep when Horace returned from his 
play or at least so he thought. He opened her door and found 
the room dark, and said, ' Are you asleep, mamma ? ' and got no 
answer, which he thought rather strange, as she was such a light 
sleeper. But, to be sure, last night had been so disturbed, she 
had not slept at all, and the day had been fatiguing and exciting. 
No doubt she was very tired. He retired on tiptoe, making, as 
was natural, far more noise than when he had come in without 
any precaution at all. But she made no sign ; he did not wake 
her, where she lay, very still, with her eyes closed in the dark, 
holding her very breath that he might not suspect. Horace had 
enjoyed his evening. The play had been amusing 1 , the dinner 
good. Dick Fareham, indeed, had asked a few questions. 

* I suppose you found the governor all right ? ' he said. 

I didn't,' said Horace ; ' the mother did.' 

And he's all right, I hope ? ' 

' I can't tell you,' said Horace shortly ; ' I said I hadn't seen 
him.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 125 

The conversation had ended thus for the moment, but young 
Fareham was too curious to leave it so. He asked Horace when 
he was coming to the London office. ' I know I'm only a warming- 
pan,' he said, * keeping the place warm for you. I suppose that 
will be settled while you are here.' 

' I don't know anything about it,' said Horace. ' We heard you 
were all at sixes and sevens in the office.' 

' I at sixes and sevens ! ' 

' Oh, I don't mean to be disagreeable. We heard so,' said 
Horace, ' and that the governor had his hands full.' 

* I'd like to know who told you that,' said the young man. 
' I'd like to punch his head, whoever said it. In the first place, it 
is not true, and your father is not the man to put such a story 
about.' 

Now Horace had not been told this as the reason of his father's 
absence, but had found it out, as members of a family find out what 
has been talked of in the house, the persons in the secret falling 
off their guard as time goes on. He was angry at the resentment 
with which he was met, but a little at a loss for a reply. 

' Perhaps you think I have put it about? ' he said, indignant. 
' It has not been put about at all, but we heard it somehow. That 
was why my father ' 

' I think I can see how it was I think I can understand,' said 
young Fareham. ' That was what called your father up to London. 
By Jove ! ' 

And after that he was not so pleasant a companion for the rest 
of the evening. But the play was amusing, and Horace partially 
forgot this contretemps. When he found his mother's room shut 
up and quiet, he went to his own without any burden on his mind. 
He was not so anxious about * the governor ' as perhaps Milly in 
his place might have been. It was highly unpleasant that the 
mother and he should have quarrelled, and quite incomprehensible. 
But Horace went to bed philosophically, and the trouble in his 
mind was not enough to keep him from sleep. 

Young Fareham, on his side, wrote an indignant letter to his 
uncle, demanding to know if his mind too had been poisoned by 
false reports. The young man was very angry. He was being 
made the scapegoat ; he was the excuse for old Landon's absence, 
who had not been near the office for months, and he called upon his 
own particular patron to vindicate him. Had his private morals 



126 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

been attacked he might have borne it ; but to talk of the office as 
at sixes and sevens ! this was more than he could bear. 

Next morning, before anybody else was awake> an early house- 
maid stole into Mrs. Lycett-Landon's room, and told her that a 
gentleman had arrived who wanted to see her. The poor lady had 
slept a little towards the morning, and was waked by this message. 
She thought it must be her husband, and after a moment of 
dolorous hesitation got up hastily and dressed herself, and went to 
the sitting-room, which was still in the disorder of last night, and 
looking, if that were possible, still more wretched, raw, and un- 
homelike than in its usual trim. She found, with a great shock 
and sense of discouragement, did Mr. Fareham, pale after his 
night's journey, with all the wrinkles about his eyes more pro- 
nounced, and the slight tremor in his head more visible than ever. 
He came forward to meet her, holding out both his hands. 

' What can I do for you ? ' he said. ' What has happened ? 
I came off, you see, by the first train.' 

' Oh, Mr. Fareham, I never expected this ! You must have 
thought me mad. I think, indeed, I must have been off my head 
a little last night. I telegraphed, did I ? I scarcely knew what 
I was doing ' 

' You have not found him, then ? ' 

She covered her face with her hands. To meet the old man's 
eyes in the light of day and tell her story was impossible. Why 
had not she gone away, buried herself somewhere, and never said 
a word ? 

' I have seen Mr. Landon, Mr. Fareham ; he is not ill : but 
Horace knows nothing,' she said hastily. 

' My dear lady, if I am to do anything for you I must know.' 

1 1 don't think there is anything to be done. We have had a 
serious disagreement ; but Horace knows nothing,' she repeated 
again. He looked at her, and she could not bear his eyes. ' I 
am very sorry to have given you so much trouble ' 

' The trouble is nothing,' he said. ' I have known you almost 
all your life. It would be strange if I could not take a little 
trouble. I think I know what you mean. You were distracted 
last night, and sent for me. But now in the calm of the morning 
things do not look so bad, and you think you have been too hasty. 
I can understand that, if that is what you mean.' 

She could not bear his eye. She sank down in the chair where 
she had sat last night and talked to Horace. In the calm of the 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 127 

morning I It was only now, when she felt that she had begun to 
live again, that all her problems came back to her, full awake, and 
fell upon her like harpies. Things do not look so bad I There 
passed through her mind a despairing question, whether she had 
strength to persuade him that this was so, and that there really 
was nothing to appeal to him about. 

' My dear lady,' he said again, ' you must be frank with me. 
Is it a false alarm, and nothing for me to do ? If so, not another 
word ; I will forget that you ever sent for me. But if there is 
something more ' 

How much was going through her mind, and how many scenes 
were rising before her eyes as he spoke ! There appeared to her a 
vision of duty terrible to perform ; of going home, putting on a 
face of calm, speaking of papa as usual to the children, living her 
life as usual, keeping her secret : and then of the universal 
questions that would arise, Where was he ? what had become of 
him ? why did he never return ? Or she seemed to see herself 
going away, making some pretext of health, of education, she 
could not tell what, carrying her children, astonished, half un- 
willing, full of questions which she could not answer, away with 
her into the unknown. These visions rolled upward before her 
eyes surrounded with mists and confusion, out of which they 
appeared and reappeared. When her old friend stopped speaking 
her imagination stopped too, and she came to a pause. And 
then the impossibility of all these efforts came over her and 
overwhelmed her the mists, the clouds, the chaos of helpless- 
ness and confusion in which there was no standing-ground, nor 
anything to grasp at, swallowing her up. She did not know how 
long she sat silent while the old man stood and looked at her. 
Then she burst forth all at once, 

' I cannot tell the children ! How is it possible ? Horace and 
Milly, they are grown up ; they will want to know. How can I 
tell them ? I want you to help me to keep it from them to 
think of something. I would rather die than tell them,' she said, 
starting up wringing her hands. 

' My dear lady ! my dear lady ! ' 

' Mr. Fareham, Eobert has married again ! ' 

The old man gave a loud cry almost a shriek of surprise and 
horror. ' You don't know what you are saying,' he said. 

* That sounds as if I were dead,' she said, calmed by the reve- 
lation, with a faint smile. * Oh yes, I know very well what I am 



128 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

saying. He is married as if I were dead as if I had never 
existed. I went to see him, and I saw her ! ' 

Old Fareham caught her hands in his ; he led her to her seat 
again, and put her in it, uttering all the time sounds that were 
half soothing, half blaspheming. He stood by her, patting her 
on the shoulder, his old eyebrows contracted, his lips quivering 
under their heavy grey moustache. He was more agitated now 
than she was. The telling of her secret seemed to have delivered 
her soul. When he had recovered himself he asked a hundred 
questions, to all which she answered calmly enough. The room, 
with its look of disorder the litter of last night, the fresh morning 
sunshine streaming in disregarded, emphasising the squalor of the 
ashes in the grate surrounded with a fitting background the 
strange discussion between these two the old man fatigued with 
his night journey, the woman pale as a ghost, with eyes incapable 
of sleep. She told him everything, forestalling his half-said pro- 
test that it must be another Lycett-Landon with the fact of her 
personal encounter with her husband, forgetting nothing. The 
facts of the case had by this time paled of their first importance 
to her eyes, while they were everything to his. They no longer 
agitated her ; while that which convulsed her very soul seemed 
to him of but little importance. 'I cannot tell the children. 
How am I to tell the children ? ' He became weary of this refrain. 

' We can think of the children later. In the meantime, this 
other is the important question. He has brought himself within 
the range of the law ; you can punish him.' 

t Punish him ? ' she said, with a strange smile * punish 
him?' 

' Yes ; you may forgive if you please, but I can't forgive. 
He deserves to be punished, and he shall be punished and the 
woman ' 

' He said she was as innocent as I am.' 

' He said ! he is a famous authority. One knows what kind 
of creature ' 

* I have seen her,' said Queen Eleanor, with a sigh, ' poor child. 
He said nothing but the truth ; she is not in fault. She is the 
one who is most injured. I would save her if I could.' 

' Save her ! You would let this sweet establishment go on,' 
he said, with fine sarcasm, ' and not disturb them ? ' 

' Yes,' she said. ' It may be wrong, but I think I would if I 
could.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 129 

' You are mad ! ' cried the old man. * You have lost all your 
good sense, and your feeling too. What, your own husband ! 
you would let him go on living in sin happy ' 

She stopped him with a curious kind of authority a look 
before which he paused in spite of himself. 

' Happy ! ' she said ; ' I suppose so ; at fifty, after living 
honestly all these years ! ' 

He stopped and shook his grey head. * I have known such a 
thing before. It seems as if they must break out as if common 
life and duty became insupportable. I have known such a case 
once before.' 

She cried out eagerly, ' Who was it ? ' then stopped with a 
half-smile. f What does it matter to me who it was ? The only 
thing that matters now is the children. What is to be done 
about the children ? I- can not tell them ; nor can you, nor any 
one. Mr. Fareham, let him alone ; let him be happy, as you 
call it if he can. But the children what am I to say to the 
children ? ' She rose up again, and began to walk about the 
room, unable to keep still. ' Horace, who is a man, and Milly. 
If they were little things it would not matter ; they would not 
understand.' 

' And is it possible,' said old Fareham, looking at her almost 
sourly, ' that this is the only thing you can think of? not your 
own wrongs, nor his abominable behaviour, nor ' 

She paused a little, standing by the table. ' Oh, you do 
wrong,' she said, ' you do wrong ! A woman has her pride. If his 
duty has become insupportable ; it was you who used the word 
and life insupportable, do you think a woman like me would hold 
him to it ? Oh, you do wrong ! I have put that away. But the 
children I cannot put them away ! And he was a good father, a 
kind father. Think of something. If only they might never 
find out ! ' 

Here her voice gave way, and she could say no more. 

* Horace will have to know,' he said, shaking his head. 

' Why ? You could tell him there was some difficulty be- 
tween us, something that could not be got over. That we were 
both in the wrong, as people always are in a quarrel. And no 
doubt I must have been in the wrong, or or Eobert would never 
have gone so far so far astray. No doubt I have been wrong ; 
you must have seen it you with your experience and yet you 
never said a word. Why didn't you tell me ? you might have 



130 QUERN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

done it so easily. Why didn't you say, " You make life too 
humdrum, too commonplace for him. He wants variety and 
change " ? I would have taken it very well from you. I am not 
a woman who will not take advice. Why did you never tell me ? 
I could have made so many changes if I had known.' 

He took her hand again, with a great pity, and almost re- 
morse, in his old face. ' It is too early,' he said, i to do anything. 
Tell me where I shall find him, and go back to your room and try 
to rest. Say you are too tired to see the boy, if that is all you 
are thinking of: and go to bed go to bed, and try and get a little 
sleep. I have a great deal of experience, as you say. Leave it 
to me. I will see him, and then we will talk it over, and think 
what is best to be done.' 

* You will see him ? What will you say to him, Mr. Fareham ? 
Why should you see him ? Is not the chapter closed so far as he 
is concerned ? ' 

' Closed ? He will come home when he is tired of the other 
establishment is that what you mean him to do ? ' 

She blushed like a girl, growing crimson to her hair. ' Oh 
yes,' she said, ' I know you have a great deal of experience ; but, 
perhaps, here you do not understand. That that would not be 
necessary. He is not a man who would Mr. Fareham, you 
don't suppose I wish him any harm? ' 

' You are a great deal too good too merciful.' 

' I am not merciful ; it is all ended. Don't you know, since 
yesterday the world has come to an end. Life has become im- 
possible impossible ! that is all about it. I am not angry ; it is 
too serious for that. I would not harm him for the world, (rod 
help him ! I don't know how he can live, any more than I know 
how I can live. It is no word will express what it is. But he 
will not come back. He is not that kind of man.' 

' Do you think if you had not seen him yesterday, if he did 
not know that you had found him out do you think,' said old 
Fareham deliberately, ' that he would not have come back ? ' 

She looked at him for an instant, and then hid her face in 
her hands. 

* I have no doubt on the subject,' said the old man tri- 
umphantly. * But when a man has put himself within the reach 
of the law he is powerless, and we have him in our hands.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 131 
CHAPTER IX. 

THE REVELATION. 

SHE woke suddenly with the sense that somebody was by her, and 
found Horace seated by her bed. She had fallen asleep in the 
brightness of the morning, overcome with fatigue, and also partly 
calmed by having confided her secret to another : even when it is 
painful, when it is indiscreet, it is always a relief. The bosom is 
no longer bursting with that which it is beyond its power to con- 
tain. She woke suddenly with that sense of some one looking at 
her which breaks the deepest sleep. She was still in her dressing- 
gown, 'lying upon her bed. ' Horace ! ' she said, springing up. 

' I am so glad you have had a sleep. Don't jump up like that ; 
you look so tired, mother, so worn out.' 

'Not now, my dear; I feel quite fresh now. Did you enjoy 
your evening ? ' 

' What does it matter about my evening ? ' he said, almost 
sternly. * Mother, do you know that old Fareham came up by the 
night train ? ' 

' Yes, Horace,' she said, turning her head away. 

* You knew ? Do you think you are treating me fairly I that 
am more interested than any one ? What is the matter ? The 
business has gone wrong. Do you mean to say that my father 
my father ' 

Poor Horace's voice faltered. That it should be his father was 
the extraordinary thing, as it always is full of mystery to us 
how misfortune, much less shame, should affect us individually. He 
looked at his mother with a look which was imperative and almost 
commanding, not perplexed and imploring, as it had been before. 
Mr. Fareham's arrival had thrown light, as Horace thought, on the 
mystery, light which to him, as a young man destined to be a 
merchant prince, and to convey to the world higher ideas of com- 
merce altogether, was more dreadful than anything else could 
have been. He thought he saw it all ; and that as no one would 
be so deeply affected as he, his mother had been weakly trying to 
hide it from him. Horace felt that his spirit would rise with 
disaster, and that he was capable of raising the house again and 
all its concerns from, the ground. 

And for a moment she caught at this new idea. To her own 
feminine mind disaster to the business was as nothing in com- 



132 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

parison with what had happened. If others could make him believe 
this, it would be a way out of the worse revelation. This was how 
she contemplated the matter. She said, ' It was I who sent for 
Mr. Fareham. He is a very old friend, and his interests are all 
bound up with ours.' 

* Then that is what it is. He has been speculating. Oh, how 
could you conceal such a thing from me ? How could you keep 
me in the dark ? Mother, I don't mean to be unkind, but this is 
nothing to you in comparison with what it is to me. You don't 
care for a man's credit,' said Horace, rising and striding about the 
room, ' or the reputation of the firm, or anything of real importance, 
in comparison with his health or his comfort or some personal 
matter. His health of what consequence is that in comparison ? 
Mother, mother, I shall find it hard to forgive you if you have let 
our credit be put in danger without warning me.' 

This reproach was one that she had not looked for, and that 
took her entirely by surprise. She looked up at him, still feeling 
that what there was to say was worse, far worse than anything he 
could imagine, yet startled and confused by his vehemence. * I 
I don't think the credit of the house will suffer,' she said, falter- 
ing a little. 

* It is not so bad as that ? But then why did you send for old 
Fareham ? You ought to have taken no step without consulting 
me. I understand this sort of thing better than you do,' he said, 
with an impatience which he could not suppress. * Mamma, I beg 
your pardon ; everything else I am sure you know better but the 
business ! Don't you know I have been brought up to that ? I 
mind nothing so much as the credit of the house.' 

' Nothing, Horace ? ' she said faintly. 

'Nothing,' he repeated with vehemence, 'nothing!' Of 
course,' he added after a moment, ' if papa were ill I should be 
very sorry : but he must not play with our credit, mother ; he must 
not ; that is the one thing. What has he been doing ? Surely 
not anything to do with those new bubble companies ? ' 

* Oh, Horace, how can I tell you ? Wait till Mr. Fareham comes 
back.' 

' He has gone to see papa, then ? I thought it must be that ; 
but why, why not tell me ? I am not very old, perhaps, but I 
know about the business, and care more for it than any one else. 
I would make any sacrifice, but our credit must not be touched ; 
it must not be touched.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 133 

4 Compose yourself, Horace ; it need not be touched, so far as 
I can see.' 

This calmed him a little, and he sat down by her, and took 
pains to explain his views to her. ' You see, mamma,' he said 
kindly, but with a little natural condescension, ' ladies have such 
a different way of looking at things. You think of health and 
comfort and good temper, and all that, when a man thinks of his 
affairs and his reputation. You would be more distracted if the 
governor ' (at home Horace never ventured on this phrase, but it 
suited the atmosphere of town) ' had a bad accident, or got into a 
snappish state, than if he had pledged the credit of the firm. It 
is nice in you to think so, but it would be silly in a man.' 

' You think then, Horace, that nothing can be so bad as trouble 
to the firm. You think that loss of money ' 

' Loss of money is not everything,' he said testily. ' I hope 
Lycett-Landon's could lose a lot of money without being much the 
worse. The fact is, you don't understand. It is always the 
personal you dwell upon. I am not reproaching you, mamma ; it 
is your nature.' He patted her hand as he said this, and looked 
at her with a half-smile of boyish wisdom and superiority, very 
kindly compassionating her limited powers. 

This silenced her once more : and so they remained for some 
time, he sitting thoughtfully by her, she reclining on the bed 
looking at him, trying to read the meaning in his face. At last 
she said tremulously, ' I am not quite so bad as you think : but 
perhaps a matter that touched our family peace, that sundered us 
from each other disunited us ' 

He kept on patting her hand, but more impatiently than 
before. ' Nothing could do that permanently,' he said. And he 
asked no more questions. He was a little, a very little, contemp- 
tuous of his mother. * I ought to have gone along with old Fare- 
ham. We should have talked it over together. I suppose now I 
must have patience till he comes back. When do you think he 
will come back ? Can't I go and join him there ? Oh, you think 
papa wouldn't like it ? Well, perhaps he might not. It is rather 
hard upon me, all the same, to wait on and know nothing.' 

' Don't you think if you were to take a walk, Horace, or go 
and see the pictures ' 

' Oh, the pictures ! in this state of anxiety ? Well, yes, I think 
I will take a walk ; it is better than staying indoors. And don't 
you make yourself unhappy, mother. It can't have been going 
on very long, and no doubt we shall pull through.' 



134 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

Saying this with a cloudy smile, Horace went away, waving his 
hand to her as he went out. She then got up and dressed with a 
stupefied sensation, taking all the usual pains about her toilette, 
though with a sense that it was absolutely unimportant. She 
could not remember what day it was, or what month, or even what 
year. She was conscious of having received a remorseless and 
crushing blow, but that was all; when she had left home or 
whether she would ever go back to it, she could not tell ; neither 
could she form the least idea of what was going to happen when 
old Mr. Fareham came back. She forgot that she had not break- 
fasted, and even, what was more wonderful, that to save appearances 
it was necessary to make believe to breakfast. Everything of the 
kind was swept away. She went into the sitting-room and sat 
down at the window like an abstract woman in a picture. It was 
very strange to her to do nothing ; and yet she never thought of 
doing anything, but sat down and waited waited for something 
that was about to happen, not knowing what it might be. 

She had not waited long when one of the hotel servants 
knocked at the door, and, opening it, admitted a stranger whom 
she had never seen before a small, thin woman in a widow's dress, 
who stood hesitating, looking at her with a pair of anxious eye?, 
and for the first moment said nothing. Mrs. Lycett-Landon was 
roused by the unlooked-for appearance of this visitor. She rose 
up, wondering, at such a moment, who it was that could have 
come to disturb her. The stranger was very timid and shy. She 
hung about the door as if there were a protection in being near it. 

' I beg your pardon,' she said, ' I don't even know by what 
name to speak to you. But one of my daughter's maids saw you 
yesterday get into a cab, and then we heard you had come here.' 

' I think I understand ; your daughter is ' 

' Mrs. Landon, madam, where you called yesterday. You asked 
for me, and then went away without seeing me. I could not help 
feeling anxious. You may think it presuming in me to track you 
out like this, but I do feel anxious. We were afraid perhaps that 
my son-in-law : ' 

She had a wistful, deprecating look, like that of a woman who 
had not received much consideration in the course of her life. She 
watched the face of the person she addressed with an anxiety which 
evidently was habitual, as if to see how far she might go, to avoid 
all possible offence. Mrs. Lycett-Landon returned the look with 
one which was full of alarm, almost terror. It seemed impossible 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 135 

that she could get through this interview without revealing every- 
thing; and the small, anxious, hesitating figure looked so little 
able to bear any shock. 

' Will you sit down ? ' she said, offering her a chair. 

The stranger accepted it gratefully with a timid smile of thanks. 
She seemed to take this little civility as a good omen, and bright- 
ened perceptibly. She was very carefully, neatly dressed, but her 
crape was somewhat rusty, and the black gown evidently taken 
much care of. She twisted her hands together nervously. 

' We were afraid,' she repeated, 'that perhaps Mr. Landon had 
got himself into, trouble with his own family because of his mar- 
riage: and that you had come perhaps to see. We were so 
delighted that you should have come ; and then when we found 
you had gone away ' 

Her voice trembled a little as she spoke. She watched every 
movement of the face which regarded her with such strange 
emotion, ready to stop, to modify any word that displeased. 

' Then did you let him did you give him your daughter 
without any inquiries, without knowing anything ' 

t Oh, madam,' the widow cried, clasping and unclasping her 
nervous hands, ' perhaps I was imprudent. But at his age one 
does not think of the family approving. If he had been a younger 
man . But who could have any right to interfere at his age ? ' 

' That is true that is very true ! ' 

* And you see it came upon me, you might say, unexpectedly, 
I saw that he was getting fond of Kose ; but I never thought, if 
you will excuse me for saying so, that she would marry a gentle- 
man so much older and then it was so sudden at the last. He 
had leave from his office, and the opportunity of getting away ' 

' Leave from his office ! ' The listener could not help repeat- 
ing this with a curious cry of indignation. It gave her a shock, 
in the midst of so many shocks. As for the widow, this interruption 
confused her. She trembled and stumbled in her simple tale. 

* And so and so it was settled at last in a hurry. I have not 
very strong 1 health, and I was very glad that Rose should be settled. 
Oh yes, I was glad that she should have some one to take care 
of her in case anything happened. I had confidence that you 
could feel for me as a mother ; perhaps you are a mother yourself.' 

The widow stopped short when she had made this suggestion, 
with a momentary panic ; for Rose's idea had been that the lady 



136 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

who had appeared and disappeared so suddenly was a sister, per- 
haps a maiden sister. Her mother judged otherwise, but then 
paused, afraid. 

' Yes, I am a mother myself.' 

' I thought so I thought so ! and I felt sure you would feel 
for me as a mother. It was Kose I had to think of. As for his 

family, at his age, you will understand . But it makes my 

poor girl very unhappy to think she may have been the means of 
separating him from his relations. I tell her a wife is more to a 
man than any other relation. But still, if it could be possible to 
make a reconciliation if you would be so kind as to help us ' 

The nervous hands clasped together; the little hesitating 
woman looked with a face full of prayer and entreaty at the lady 
who sat there before her, like an arbiter of fate. If she could 
have known how the heart was beating in that lady's breast ! 
Mrs. Lycett-Landon did not speak for some time, not being able 
to command her voice. Then she said, tremulously, but with a 
great effort to be calm, 

4 You don't know what you ask. I am the last person ' 

1 Oh, madam ! ' 

She had an old-fashioned, over-respectful way of using this 
word. And there was no fear or suspicion of the truth, though 
much anxiety, in her eyes. 

' Oh, madam ! you have a kind face ; and who should be the 
one to make peace but such as you, that can feel for a young 
creature, and knows what is in a mother's heart ? ' 

The words were scarcely out of her lips when Horace entered 
hastily, asking, before he saw that any stranger was present, 

' Mother, has Fareham come back ? ' 

( No, Horace ; but you see I am engaged.' 

' I beg your pardon,' he said, surprised by the look of agitation 
in the stranger's face. But he was terribly excited. * I won't stay 
a moment ; but do please tell me papa's address. I cannot wait 
and knock about all day. Old Fareham is so tedious ; he will 
take hours about it. Tell me my father's address.' 

Horace was not without wiles of his own. He thought it more 
likely that he should extract this address when somebody was there. 

* Horace, I am engaged, as you can see.' 

( Only a moment, mother ; it was something flowery Labur- 
num, or Acacia, or something. If I go to the office I can get it in 
a moment,' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR- ROSAMOND. 137 

The little widow rose up ; something strange and terrible came 
over her face. 

( Young gentleman,' she said, ' are you any relation to Mr. 
Lycett-Landon ? you will tell me if no one else will.' 

* Eelation ! ' said Horace, with a laugh, ' oh yes ; only his son, 
that is all ! ' 

And this lady ? This lady is ' 

* My mother ; who else should she be ? ' the youth said. 
There was a moment during which the two women stood 

gazing at each other in an awful suspension of all sound or 
thought. And then the visitor uttered a great and terrible cry, 
and fell down at their feet upon the floor. 



CHAPTEK X. 

THE END. 

THE Lycett-Landons went home to the Grove that night. Horace 
asked his mother no questions. He helped her to lift up and 
place upon a sofa the visitor whose strength had failed her so 
strangely ; but how much he heard from Mr. Fareham, or how 
much he guessed, she never knew. He was anxious to go home 
at once, and, instead of making any objections as she had feared, 
facilitated everything. He was very kind and tender to her on 
the journey, taking care of her and of her comfort, saving her from 
every trouble. This had not heretofore been Horace's way. He was 
still so young that the habit of being taken care of was more natural 
to him than that of taking care of others : but he had learned 
a new version apparently of his duty on that strange and agitating 
day. It was late when they reached the Mersey again, and the 
great river was full of shooting fireflies, little steamers with their 
sparks of glowing colour flitting and rustling to and fro among 
the steady lights of the moored ships. The sky was pale with the 
rising moon, the stars appearing languidly out of the clouds. As 
they crossed the river to their home, sitting close together on 
the deck, saying nothing to each other, avoiding in the dark- 
ness all contact with the other passengers, two or three little 
steamboats rustled past, full of music and a crowd of merrymakers 
going home noisy and happy after a day's pleasure. The sky was 
stained all round the horizon behind them by the smoke of the 
great town, but before them was soft and clear with fringes of dark 

VOL. VI. NO. 32, N.S. 7 



138 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

foliage and outlines of peaceful houses rising against it. Every- 
thing was full of quiet and peace, no false or discordant note any- 
where ; even the fiddles and flutes of the bands harmonised by 
the air and water and magical space about, and the dew dropping, 
and the moon rising. It was only forty-eight hours since they 
had left their home almost under the same conditions, but what a 
change there was ! 

Milly was full of questions and surmises. How was papa? 
Why did they leave him ? When was he coming home ? Why 
did they return so soon ? She supposed the season was over, and 
nothing going on, not even the theatres. She never thought it 
possible they would come back directly. She poured a flood of 
remarks upon them as they walked from the boat to the house. 
Fortunately it was dark, and their faces gave her no information ; 
but their brief replies, and a something indefinable, a restraint in 
the atmosphere about them, a something new which she did not 
understand, began to affect the girl after the first abandon of her 
surprise and her interrogations. As soon as Mrs. Lycett-Landon 
entered the house she announced that she was very tired and 
going to bed. ' I am growing old ; travelling affects me as it 
never used to do, and I have got a headache. I shall go to bed 
at once, Milly. No, I don't want anything to eat ; quiet and rest 
that is all I want. Give Horace his supper, dear ; and you need 
not come into my room to-night. I shall put out my light and 
get to sleep.' 

4 Not even a cup of tea, mamma ? Mayn't I come and help 
you to take off your things ? Let me send White away, and un- 
dress you myself.' 

' I want no one, my darling, neither you nor White. My head 
aches. I want darkness and quiet. Good night. To-morrow 
morning I shall be all right.' 

She kissed them, her veil still hanging over her face, and 
hurried upstairs. Milly watched her till she had disappeared, 
and then turned upon her brother. ' What does this mean ? ' said 
the girl ; ' what has happened to mamma, and where's papa, 
Horry ? Tell me this very moment, before you have your supper 
or anything. I know something must be wrong.' 

* Something is wrong,' said Horace, ' but I can't tell you what 
it is. I don't know what it is. Now, Milly, that is all I am going 
to say. You need not go on asking and asking, for you will only 
make me miserable. I can't tell you anything more.' 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 139 

' You can't tell me anything more ? ' She was struck, not 
dumb indeed with amazement, but into such a quiver and agita- 
tion that she could scarcely speak. Then she regained her courage 
a little. ' Where's papa ? He can't be ill, or you would not have 
come home.' 

* I have not seen him,' said Horace, doggedly. 
' You have not seen him ? ' 

' Mother did, and then old Fareham. I can tell you this : it 
isn't speculation, or anything of that sort. The firm is all right. 
It's nothing about that.' 

* The firm speculation ! ' cried Milly, with wild contempt ; 
' who cares for business ? What is the matter ? and why doesn't 
he come home?' 

' Who cares for it ? I care for it. I thought at first that was 
what had happened ; but we may make our minds quite easy ; it's 
not that.' Horace was really comforted by this certainty, though 
not perhaps so much as he pretended to be. * I was very much 
frightened at first,' he said. * It was a great relief to find that, 
whatever it is, it is not that.' 

Milly stood looking at him with scared eyes. * Do you mean 
to say that papa is not coming home ? Oh, Horry, for goodness' 
sake tell me something more. Has he done anything? What 
has he done ? Papa ! It is impossible, impossible ! ' the girl cried. 

* So I should have said too,' said Horace, who had now had a 
long time in which to accustom himself to the idea. ' Perhaps 
the mother will tell you something ; she has not said a word to 
me. I don't know, and therefore I can't tell you. It has been a 
horrid sort of day,' said the lad, ' and perhaps you'll think it 
unfeeling, Milly, but I'm hungry. I'd like to have something to 
eat, and then I'd like to go to bed. I'm horribly tired, too ; wan- 
dering about, and always waiting to hear something and never 
hearing, and imagining all sorts of things, is very fatiguing, and 
1 don't think I've eaten anything to-day.' 

Milly despised her brother for thinking of eating, but yet 
it was a relief to superintend his supper and get him all he 
wanted. They had a great deal of talk over this strange meal, 
and though Horace gave his sister no information, they yet managed 
to assure themselves somehow that a terrible catastrophe had 
happened, and that their father had gone out of their lives. Milly 
wept bitterly over it, and even Horace could not keep the tears 
from his eyes ; but somehow they recognised the fact between 

72 



HO QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

them, fax more easily than their mother above stairs or any by- 
stander could have imagined possible. Two days ago what could 
have been more impossible to them ? And Milly did not know even 
so much as Horace knew, nor had any insight at all into how it 
was ; and yet she too in the course of an hour or so had accepted 
the fact. To youth there is something convincing in certainty, 
an obedience to what is, which is one of the most remarkable things 
in life. They acknowledged the mystery with wonder and pain, 
but they did not rebel or doubt. Their mother thought nothing 
less than that they would struggle, would be incredulous, would 
rebel even against her for their father's sake. But there was 
nothing of all this. They submitted almost without a struggle, 
though they did not understand. 

And then the quiet days closed down upon this family, upon 
which so mysterious a loss had fallen. It need not be said that 
there was great discussion as to the cause of Mr. Lycett-Landon's 
disappearance, both among the merchants in Liverpool, and among 
their wives and daughters on the other side of the water. The 
explanations that were given at first were many and conflicting ; 
and for a long time people continued to ask, 'When do you 
expect your husband ? ' or * your father ? ' And then there came 
the time, not less painful, when people pointedly refrained from 
asking any questions, and changed the subject when his name 
was mentioned, which was, perhaps, almost less tolerable. Then, 
gradually, by degrees it became an old story, and people remem- 
bered it no more. Ah, yes ! they remembered it whenever any 
incident happened in the family when Horace took his place as 
one of the partners in the office, when Milly married then it all 
cropped up again, with supposititious details ; but when nothing 
was happening to them the family escaped into obscurity, and 
their circumstances were discussed no longer. Old Mr. Fareham 
had a very bad cold after he returned from London, and was for some 
time confined to the house, and would see nobody. And then 
other things happened, as they are continually happening in a 
mercantile community. A great bankruptcy, with many exciting 
and disgraceful circumstances, followed soon after, and the atten- 
tion of the community was distracted. The Lycett-Landon busi- 
ness remained a mystery, and after a while the waters closed 
tranquilly over the spot where this strange shipwreck had been. 

Milly never heard till after her marriage what it was that had 
happened, and at no time did Horace ask any questions ; how 



QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 141 

much he divined, how much he had been told, his mother never 
knew. And she herself never was aware how the other story 
ended : if the poor Kose, her husband's unfortunate young wife, 
died of it, or if she abandoned him ; or if the poor mother 
lacked the courage to tell her ; or if between them the young 
woman was kept in her poor little suburban paradise deceived. 
Mrs. Lycett-Landon made many a furtive effort to ascertain how 
it had ended ; but she was too proud to inquire openly, and 
though she wondered and pondered she never knew. 

Years, however, after these events, when Horace had begun 
to be what he had determined upon being, a merchant-prince, 
and the house of Lycett-Landon & Co. (old Mr. Fareham being 
dead, and young Mr. Fareham at the head of the American 
branch, Landon, Fareham, & Co.) was greater than ever, Mr. 
Lycett-Landon suddenly appeared at the Grove. He came to 
make a call in the morning, sending in his name ; for the old 
butler was dead, and the new one did not know him, and he was 
admitted like any other stranger. His wife even did not know who 
he was for she had come down expecting a distant relation until 
she had looked a second or third time at the stout, embarrassed 
old gentleman, looking very awkward and deprecating, who stood 
up when she came into the room, and shrank with a certain con- 
fusion from her inspection. After the first shock of the recognition 
they sat down and conversed calmly enough. He inquired about 
the children with a little affectation of ease. 

' I know about Horace, of course,' he said, ' and I saw Milly's 
marriage in the papers. But I should like to hear a little about 
the others.' 

She accepted his curiosity as very natural, and gave him all 
the particulars very openly and sedately. He sat for nearly an 
hour, sometimes asking questions, sometimes listening, with a 
curious air of politeness, like a man on his best behaviour, in the 
society of a lady a little above him in station, and with whom his 
acquaintance was far from intimate, and then took his leave. 

With what thoughts their minds were full as they sat there, 
in the old home equally familiar to both, where every article of fur- 
niture, every picture on the walls had the same associations to both ! 
But nothing was said to betray the poignant sensation with which 
the woman, compunctious, though she had never been revengeful, 
or the man, so strangely separated and fallen from all that had 
been habitual to him, beheld each other, sat by each other, after 



142 QUEEN ELEANOR AND FAIR ROSAMOND. 

these years. He smiled, but she had not the strength to smile. 
After this, however, he came again at intervals, always asking 
with interest about his children, but not caring to see them. 

' I suppose they don't remember anything about me,' he said. 
His visits were not frequent, but he became, in the end, 
acquainted with all the family, and even resumed a certain inter- 
course with Horace and Milly, his first meeting with whom was 
accidental and very painful. To see him elderly, stout, and (but 
perhaps this was one effect of some refinement of jealous and 
wounded feeling on the part of Mrs. Lycett-Landon) oh so com- 
monplace ! and fallen from his natural level, shuffling his feet, 
reddening, smiling that confused and foolish smile, conciliating 
his children, gave to his wife almost the keenest pang she had 
yet suffered. She could not bear to see him so lowered from his 
natural place. Tragedy is terrible, but when it drops into tragi- 
comedy, tragi-farce at the end, that is the most terrible of all. 
Pity, shame, something that was like remorse, though she was 
blameless, was in his wife's heart. The impulse in her mind 
was to go away out of the house that was his, and leave him in 
possession. But, to do him justice, he never, by look or word, 
reminded her that the house had been his, or that he was any- 
thing but a visitor. 

And what was the explanation of the strange passion which 
made him, at fifty, depart from all the traditions of his virtuous 
life whether it was a passion at all, or only some wonderful, 
terrible gust of impatience, which made duty and the rule of cir- 
cumstances, and all that he was pledged and bound to, insupport- 
able she never knew ; nor whether he found that this poor game 
was even for a moment worth the blazing flambeau of revolution 
which it cost ; or whether it cost him still more than that candle 
the young life which he had blighted ; whether Kose lived or 
died ; or where he came from when he paid these visits to his old 
home, and disappeared into when they were over : all this Mrs. 
Lycett-Landon lived in ignorance of, and so, in all probability, 
will die. 



143 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

No one thoroughly acquainted with England will deny that English- 
men, beyond all other races, enjoy games of all sorts as recreation, 
and that of all games, cricket and lawn-tennis as out-door, and 
whist and billiards as in-door pastimes, are the most popular ; the 
reason of their popularity is due to two conditions, the one that, 
whilst in all of them great excellence is attainable, in none is it 
essential to full enjoyment; and the other, that the muscles are 
not unduly strained in the out-door, nor the brain in the in-door, 
games. We therefore believe that if these games were so altered 
in character as to make excellence a sine qua non of enjoyment, 
or to make play a serious muscular or mental effort according to 
the nature of the game, their popularity would cease and the first 
nail be driven in their coffins. 

The sound common-sense of Englishmen has hitherto averted 
this danger, but now, under the guise of developing whist, a most 
determined attempt is being made to introduce several artificial 
modes of play, which would so increase the difficulties of correct 
play and so alter the character of the game as to make it a severe 
strain on the attention, and utterly spoil it, especially for moderate 
players, as a recreation. 

That our readers may judge for themselves how far we are 
justified in raising alarm on these points, we will endeavour to 
trace the development of whist from its infancy, explain the 
sources of its fascination for intellectual men, and show how the 
proposed so-called developments would alter the character of the 
game. 

Lest we should weary our readers by repeating matter already 
familiar to them, we shall assume them to be conversant with the 
structure of the game, with the technical terms employed in it, 
and with some, if not all, of the principal rules of play. 

It is generally considered that the first idea of players in the 
infancy of the game must have been to make tricks as fast as 
they could, and that they therefore started with leading out aces 
and other winning cards. When those were exhausted and they 
could no longer win tricks off the reel, their next idea must have 
been to lead their lowest cards rather than sacrifice high ones ; 



144 WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

and of all leads, that of a single card in the hope of making little 
trumps, most assuredly was found the most tempting. Gradually, 
however, the chief disadvantage of leading out winning cards 
viz. that it makes the second best cards in the adversaries' hands 
winning ones must have been felt so strongly as to put an end 
to such a crude system, and, where no single card was held, to 
render it necessary to adopt some other principle ; since we may 
be sure that it would be impossible for players to allow blind 
chance to decide what card they should lead. 

Some time must have elapsed before this new principle was 

elicited, but gradually, as experience accumulated, those who 

had the greatest insight into ,the game must have formed the 

opinion, which would be generally followed, that the best leads 

were from high sequences i.e. sequences headed by an honour 

as being of all others the least dangerous and the most certain of 

ultimate benefit. Having reached this point, we ask our readers 

to form their own opinions as to whether reason does not tell them 

that if a player led from a sequence headed with king, queen, or 

knave, he ought to lead the highest so as to prevent his partner 

with the next highest card wasting it on the same trick. We 

ask this now, because some of our latter-day prophets say that 

the play of the highest of a sequence is conventional play i.e. 

that it is not based on reason, but has been adopted solely by 

virtue of a prior agreement amongst players for the purpose of 

giving specific information; yet the veriest tiro who found his 

partner putting his king on the ten, led from queen, knave, and 

ten, would see at once that if he had led the queen his partner 

would not have wasted his king, and for ever thereafter would 

(unless he wanted the king out of his way) lead the queen ; and 

this he would do for his own sake without troubling himself to 

persuade other players that thenceforth the highest of a sequence 

should be led. If, however, players had no sequence to lead from, 

they must perforce lead the lowest card from some suit the 

lowest, because, as it would not be an attempt to win the trick, 

reason would tell them to play the card of least value to them. 

But the question from which suit to lead would be most puzzling, 

and it probably took some time before it was finally admitted 

that it should be from the strongest. The battle between the 

lead of a singleton, when weak in trumps, and the lowest of a 

strong suit was fought gallantly for many a year, and it is only in 

modern times say within the last fifty years that it has ended 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 145 

conclusively in favour of the latter. It was in 1742, and not until 
the leads from sequences and from strong suits had established 
their supremacy, that Hoyle's * Short Treatise ' appeared. We 
do not suppose that Hoyle ex animo suo developed the game 
as explained by him, but rather that he was the first to bring 
together and publish the rules of play prevalent amongst the best 
players. 

His book was most successful in diffusing sound ideas amongst 
the then world of players; and so full and accurate was his 
comprehension of the game, that there is hardly anything in his 
treatise which even now can be said to be unsound, whilst there 
are to be found in it much valuable teaching more or less over- 
looked by modern writers. We have laid stress on the develop- 
ment of the lead because the proper play of the second, third, 
and fourth hands depends so entirely on the system adopted 
for the original lead that, until that had been settled, no 
sound rules for the play of those hands could be arrived at ; 
but, directly any particular system of leading was adopted, then 
reason would work out and settle the rules for the play of the 
other hands. These rules would, even less than the lead, be 
the result of caprice or of convention, inasmuch as the card 
or cards already played would give definite data for reason to 
work on. 

Amongst the points which would have thus to be settled and 
which had been settled by the time Hoyle's treatise appeared, two 
of the most prominent and difficult must have been (1) the 
proper use of trumps, and (2) what card of a sequence should be 
played when winning or trying to win ; and, in reference to the 
latter point, it is interesting to note how entirely the rule for 
playing the lowest of a sequence, except when leading, is based 
on the principle that it is better to avoid deceiving a partner 
than to deceive partners and adversaries together ; for observe, 
when a player holding ace, king, and queen wins a knave with 
the ace, he makes every one think that he has not the queen ; 
inasmuch, as it being natural that a trick should be won as 
cheaply as possible, it follows that if he held the queen he would 
not have won the knave with the ace unless he also held the 
king, and as it is eight to one against his holding both king and 
queen the natural assumption is that he does not hold both, and 
therefore certainly not the queen ; whereas, if he wins the knave 
with the queen, although he gives no information, he avoids 

76 



H6 WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

raising any inference that he has not either ace or king. As in 
Hoyle's time it had become a rule of play to win with the lowest 
of a sequence, we know that it had then become a principle of 
play not to play false or deceiving cards except, of course, for 
special reasons. The theory and practice of whist as taught by 
Hoyle have remained unchanged to the present day that is, 
for nearly a century and a half and although in certain details 
he is not now followed, and play may since his time have im- 
proved, the improvement has been principally due to the genius 
of players seeing, as occasions arose, the advantages of a depar- 
ture from ordinary rules of play. 

It is in connection with this, which has been aptly called the 
strategy of whist, that Mathews's * Advice to the Young Whist 
Player,' which appeared about sixty years after Hoyle's treatise, is 
such an advance on it. Hoyle gives us the structure, but Mathews 
relieves the monotony of its uniform lines by showing how, by 
skilful divergence, a better result can be attained. A modern 
writer has stated that the principle of playing so as to combine 
two partners' hands is the peculiar characteristic of modern 
whist, meaning the whist of the last thirty or forty years ; but no 
one can carefully read Hoyle or Mathews without finding ample 
proofs that those two writers were as fully impressed as the 
players of the present day with the necessity of constantly con- 
sidering their partner's hands as well as their own ; although they 
had not evolved therefrom a rule of always leading from the 
longest, as distinct from the strongest, suit a rule which, more 
frequently than any other, sacrifices a partner's cards without 
any benefit to the leader, and is in direct opposition to the true 
principles of combination. Mathews's work had a tremendous 
success (we have the twentieth edition now before us), and when 
in the course of time his name lost its charm, his views got a 
fresh lease of life by being embodied almost word for word in 
Major A.'s celebrated work, which had a run of nearly twenty 
editions, and had neither been superseded nor even had a 
serious rival in the estimation of whist-players till Cavendish, 
in 1862 or 1863, issued his well-known treatise. To this work as 
it originally appeared, although far from perfect, too high praise 
can hardly be given the author, having imbibed a thorough know- 
ledge of the principles of play, explained them accurately, and so 
arranged his matter that learners could easily both understand 
and remember it ; and if he had never written another word (but, 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 147 

alas ! he has), lovers of whist would have been deeply indebted to 
him. The work is, indeed, too full of details to stimulate readers 
to feats of skill beyond those actually explained ; but this defect 
was amply supplied by the well-known treatise by ' J. C.' (James 
Clay), published in 1864, which bears the same relation to Caven- 
dish's treatise as Mathews's * Advice ' does to that of Hoyle, since, 
while it omits many details which a beginner should learn, it far 
excels it in felicity of expression and in that suggestiveness which 
tends to make a fine player out of a good one. Since then there 
have appeared some works by Dr. Pole, which in our opinion are so 
unsound that we never see the advertisement of the * Whist Triad, 
by Cavendish, Clay, and Pole' without being reminded of the 
medical pamphlet, ' What to Eat, Drink, and Avoid ' (the sub- 
stantial, the stimulating, and the unwholesome) : a treatise by 
E. A. Proctor, which, with some good points, is by no means 
free from errors; a skit by Pembridge, called * Whist, or Bumble- 
puppy,' depicting most of the weaknesses of whist-players and 
of whist-play with skill and humour, and in all respects worth 
reading ; and, lastly, a long treatise by Cavendish, called * Whist 
Developments,' which makes us exclaim, * It were better for whist 
if Cavendish had never been born ! ' 

It will be seen from this short outline of the natural develop- 
ment of the game that certain rules of play were adopted because 
it was considered that they, more than any others, tended to 
trick-making. It is true that in some cases this could not be 
mathematically proved, whilst in others it could ; but where such 
proof was wanting the experience of the finest players as to what 
modes of play were most successful settled the point. The rules 
of play having been thus elucidated by reason, players were able 
to draw inferences, more or less certain, from the fall of the cards 
as to how the unplayed cards were held and to play accordingly, 
and the exercise thus afforded to the reasoning powers was, and is, 
the great charm.of the game ; if all the hands were exposed this 
charm would vanish altogether, as it does at Double Dummy. In 
whist thus developed it suffices to keep the eye on the board, and 
in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred to note only the exact value 
of the high cards played and of such low cards as, when compared 
with those in a player's hand, give him definite information e.g. 
so long as a player has noted that his partner or an adversary has 
in the first two rounds of a suit played two small cards he need 
not trouble himself as to the exact value of the two ; of course, as 



148 WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

regards the high cards he must be more observant, and as each 
card falls he must instantaneously draw from it as much information 
as he can. The attention is not unduly strained by trying to 
observe and recollect the value of every small card played, and 
as the play is throughout natural the inferences are natural, and 
may, barring false play, be relied on ; success depends less on the 
power of observing every card than on the power of drawing 
correct inferences and of making the best use of them ; a player's 
mind is thus on the alert from the beginning to the end of every 
hand, but always pleasantly so there is presented to his mind a 
succession of interesting problems for him to solve : when he 
solves them correctly he rejoic.es in success, and when he fails, 
he learns something to be useful to him hereafter. Only very 
moderate powers are requisite to enable a player to observe all 
that is necessary in whist based purely on reason, and to thoroughly 
enjoy the game without fear of making a fool of himself through 
having failed to observe some small card played by partner or 
adversary which may have been the artificial signal of information. 
The pleasure of playing is increased rather than diminished by 
the fact that a player must ever bear in mind that every inference 
he draws is merely an inference which may be wrong and not a 
positive fact : thus, when a player wins a knave with an ace, the 
inference that he holds neither king nor queen may be wrong, as 
the ace may be a false card ; or, suppose a player fourth hand 
win a ten with an ace and then lead the knave, the natural 
inference that he has the king and the queen may be wrong, 
for he may win with the ace and lead out the knave in order to 
avoid being compelled to lead losing cards which could be won 
by the adversaries. 

Our next task is to show how the so-called modern develop- 
ments of the game tend with accumulating force to spoil it. These 
developments may be indifferently denominated ' conventions ' or 
* signals,' and are methods of giving information not dependent on 
any natural inferences from the fall of the cards, but on a prior 
understanding as to their significance. They are increasing in 
number every day, so that when we give our readers the following 
list we can only hope that it comprises all. It is possible that 
there may be a dozen new ones to-morrow. 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 



149 



LIST OP SIGNALS IN USE OE SUGGESTED. 



Sow made. 

Keturning a partner's lead with a 
small card and subsequently playing a 
smaller. 

Keturning a partner's lead with any 
card and subsequently playing a higher. 

Playing (not leading) a higher card 
than is necessary e.g. playing a three 
from three two. (Known as the ' call 
for trumps.') 

Playing as above after a partner has 
done so or has led trumps. (Known as 
the 'echo of the call.') 

Leading a small card and subse- 
quently playing a smaller. (Known as 
the 'penultimate.') 

Discarding when the strength of 
trumps is adverse. 



Meaning. 
That you have no other. 



That you have at least one more. 

That you have strong trumps and 
want your partner to lead them. 



That you have four trumps. 



That you have five cards at least in 
suit led. 

That you are strong in the suit 
which you discard and want your part- 
ner to lead it. 



Cavendish now proposes to abandon the penultimate, and 
instead to adopt what are absurdly called * American leads,' as 
under : 



That it is your fourth best card in 
the suit led. 

That it is the third best of the suit 
left in your hand. 



That you have at least three more 
of the suit. 



Leading originally any card not 
being an honour or the ten. 

After opening a suit with a high 
card, going on with one not in sequence 
with it. 

Leading on second round the lowest 
of the two best cards, both being de- 
clared in your hand. 

Leading the third best from second and third best has also the same signifi- 
cance ; but as there is a good reason for thus playing viz. the desirability of 
getting best out of partner's hand it is not an artificial signal. 

In addition to these Cavendish has invented another signal 
which he calls ' the plain-suit echo,' to let his partner know when 
he holds four cards in the suit opened by partner. It would take 
too long to explain this fully, but it is important to note that 
Cavendish himself explains how the plain-suit echo clashes with 
some of the other signals, and consequently that you must 
abandon one or the other. We have above emphasised the word 
' invented,' because not only does it accurately explain the origin 
of these signals, but is the very expression used by Clay in refer- 
ence to them. 

The first point to notice as regards all these intimations is the 



150 WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

severe strain on the attention that they absolutely require in 
order not to miss them. Thus, when our partner returns our suit 
we must notice the exact value of the card he plays, however 
small, so as to be able to compare it with the one he subsequently 
plays. We must note the exact value of every card played by 
partner and adversaries to know whether, when not leading they 
are calling for trumps, or when leading they are leading from five ; 
and still further to gain certain definite information we must, 
as each trick is played, not merely count the cards played in the 
suit, but must carefully compare them with our own cards and go 
through, as far as possible, the entire suit to see whether we 
cannot tell or form some opinion as to how the remaining cards 
in it are held, and thus ferret out a penultimate, a call, or an echo 
of a call. Now, nearly all this, as compared with natural whist, is 
superfluous, and makes the game much more difficult and mentally 
laborious ; and whilst no one would complain if it afforded greater 
scope for the reasoning powers, one feels that all or nearly all the 
strain falls on the power of attention, which is never pleasant in 
itself, and as a sign of mental power is not to be mentioned in the 
same breath as the power of reasoning ; these signals, therefore, 
tend to give an advantage to an inferior form of mental develop- 
ment, and one hardly to be called intellectual. 

Observe next how they alter the character of the game ; 
so far as they are concerned inferences are superseded, and the 
effect is exactly the same as if a player had been allowed to express 
in words the meaning of the signal. Clay, referring to the return 
to a partner's lead in trumps, says, ' He will very frequently know 
(that is, even before you have played another card), as surely as 
if he looked into your hand, whether that other trump is held 
by you or an adversary ; ' and again, in reference to the call for 
trumps, ' he should, as it were, hear you say to him,' &c. ; then 
again, in the case of the American leads, the information as to 
the value of cards held by the leader when any card above a seven 
is led, is so definite that his partner can, on the second round, be 
as sure of the number and quality of cards held as if the leader 
had told him or shown his cards ; and consequently he knows, as 
a matter of fact, without any effort of reasoning, whether he can 
safely play the best card in the suit, retaining a small one so as 
not to block his partner's suit. Other signals tell him in the same 
positive way when he must and when he must not lead trumps, 
and so deprive him of the interest he would feel in solving these 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 151 

and other problems. Another objection to the signals is that the 
natural inferences from play cannot be safely drawn, because one 
can never be sure that either partner or adversary has not begun 
to play a signal of some sort or other. In this way the game 
becomes bewildering and harassing, for a player finds himself called 
on to solve puzzles which cannot possibly be solved by the most 
accurate reasoning. And what is the excuse for introducing these 
signals ? Simply that they give information ! No consideration 
is given to the question whether they improve or spoil the game. 
Cavendish's argument in support of them is that the more infor- 
mation a player gives his partner the more successfully they can 
play their cards. Now this cannot be true of all four players at 
the table. Both sides cannot simultaneously gain ; and if A. and 
B. get the pull in one hand, their adversaries C. and D. will get the 
pull in the next. Cavendish admits that they make the game more 
difficult, but argues that the inability of moderate players to take 
advantage of them is no reason why those who can should not do 
so. We personally think that it constitutes a very strong reason. 
We do not see why a game like whist (usually played for money) 
should be altered and spoilt for the sole benefit of the best players, 
and feel that Cavendish's views bring us face to face with the 
question, Are signals legitimate play ? This point has never been 
thrashed out, and it is quite time it should be. No one will dis- 
pute that for players to say, by word of mouth or by finger- signals, 
what signals say, would be unfair. But we can see no difference 
between such signals and preconcerted modes of playing the cards 
to convey the same information. Signals are in no way more 
legitimate because every one at the table knows their significance 
than giving the information orally or using finger-signals of 
which every one knew the meaning, would be ; the two things 
are in principle identical. Let us test the question in this way. 
Suppose two of our signallers went to a French club, could they 
honourably use all their signals without first explaining them and 
intimating that they intended to use them ? and suppose our 
Grallican friends replied, 'That is all very well; but we object to 
your using them for two reasons the one that until we have 
constantly practised them they will give you an advantage, and 
the other that we consider them in direct contravention of one of 
the corner-stones of the game viz. that players shall not by 
preconcerted signals give their partners any information as to 
their hands ; if, therefore, you insist on using them, we shall 



152 WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 

consider it unfair play and act accordingly.' Can any one say the 
Frenchmen would not be justified in using such language ? and 
if justified, Is it not because signals are essentially improper? 
Even if within the letter, they are absolutely opposed to the spirit 
of the established rule of etiquette, which says, ' No intimation 
whatever, by word or gesture, should be given by a player as to 
the state of his hand.' 

We are by no means peculiar in the opinion that signals and 
the so-called developments are destroying whist. The number of 
players who detest them is on the increase ; and recently one of 
the finest players in London, who himself uses the signals, publicly 
admitted that their tendency was to put an end to the game as a 
relaxation. Still more recently we read in ' Knowledge,' a propos 
of Cavendish's ' Whist developments ' : ' A study of it has gone far 
to convert us to the opinion that whist, as a game, is in a fair way 
of being ruined. Whist developments are like fungoid growths 
the signs and tokens, if not the active tokens, of decay.' 'If 
these developments are adopted by whist-players generally, then 
whist will no longer be a game ; ' and, again : * It troubles him 
(Cavendish) little that he is spoiling the game by knocking the 
brains out of it.' Pembridge, too, in his little work ' The De- 
cline and Fall of Whist,' which every whist-player should read, 
admirably demonstrates the absurdity of them. 

Whilst exposing the dangers now threatening the game, we 
are not insensible to the difficulty of warding them off. Too 
many players will be tempted to follow Cavendish's lead under 
the impression that they will otherwise be left in the lurch ; but 
we consider that that would be putting their heads into the 
noose. Cavendish's words are : ' It is no reason why better players 
should be deprived of the advantage of American leads because 
moderate players may lack the quick perception which would 
enable them to take advantage of them.' Ye moderate players, 
bear this in mind and avoid the trap laid for you. You con- 
stitute the majority, and if you resolutely decline to play with 
players who use newfangled signals, they must perforce yield. 
Remember, you cannot tell if you go on whither you may be led ; 
fresh and fresh signals will be invented, until the game will 
be so debased as to attract the Knights of Industry. This re- 
minds us that it is Shuffle who, in ' The Humours of Whist,' 
written after the publication of Hoyle's treatise, says to his brother 
sharpers, ' I have been working upon a private treatise on Signs 



WHIST; RATIONAL AND ARTIFICIAL. 153 

at Whist by way of counter-treatise to his.' Since prevention is 
better and more easy than cure, decline to play the American 
leads and every other so-called development which substitutes 
signs for reason ; and ever bear in mind that you play whist for 
your own recreation and not for the amusement or profit of the 
better players, and that fault-finding and nagging are not so rare 
as to need ' developments.' 

It is a curious confirmation of the above remarks that since 
penning them we have read in the whist column of a weekly 
paper two suggestions ; the one, that certain specified play should 
signify one thing, and the other, by a different contributor, that 
the same play should signify something quite different. We see 
from this, that unless players make a determined stand against 
such absurdities, the day is near when there will be rival systems 
of signals, some players adopting one and other players others, 
and the game be turned absolutely topsy-turvey. 

M. 



154 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

PART I. 

I. 

THEEE are only two gold coins of Wulfric of Mercia in existence 
anywhere. One of them is in the British Museum, and the other 
one is in my possession. 

The most terrible incident jn the whole course of my career is 
intimately connected with my first discovery of that gold Wulfric. 
It is not too much to say that my entire life has been deeply 
coloured by it, and I shall make no apology therefore for narrating 
the story in some little detail. I was stopping down at Lichfield 
for my summer holiday in July 1879, when I happened one day 
accidentally to meet an old ploughman who told me he had got a 
lot of coins at home that he had ploughed up on what he called 
' the field of battle,' a place I had already recognised as the site 
of the old Mercian kings' wooden palace. 

I went home with him at once in high glee, for I have been a 
collector of old English gold and silver coinage for several years, 
and I was in hopes that my friendly ploughman's find might 
contain something good in the way of Anglo-Saxon pennies or 
shillings, considering the very promising place in which he had 
unearthed it. 

As it turned out, I was not mistaken. The little hoard, con- 
cealed within a rude piece of Anglo-Saxon pottery (now No. 127 
in case LIX. at the South Kensington Museum), comprised a large 
number of common Frankish Merovingian coins (I beg Mr. Free- 
man's pardon for not calling them Merwings), together with two 
or three Kentish pennies of some rarity from the mints of Ethel- 
bert at Canterbury and Dover. Amongst these minor treasures, 
however, my eye at once fell upon a single gold piece, obviously imi- 
tated from the imperial Roman aureus of the Pretender Carausius, 
which I saw immediately must be an almost unique bit of money 
of the very greatest numismatic interest. I took it up and 
examined it carefully. A minute's inspection fully satisfied me 
that it was indeed a genuine mintage of Wulfric of Mercia, the 
like of which I had never before to my knowledge set eyes upon. 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 155 

I immediately offered the old man five pounds down for the 
whole collection. He closed with the offer forthwith in the most 
contented fashion, and I bought them and paid for them all upon 
the spot without further parley. 

When I got back to my lodgings that evening I could do 
nothing but look at my gold Wulfric. I was charmed and de- 
lighted at the actual possession of so great a treasure, and was 
burning to take it up at once to the British Museum to see 
whether even in the national collection they had got another like 
it. So being by nature of an enthusiastic and impulsive disposi- 
tion, I determined to go up to town the very next day, and try to 
track down the history of my Wulfric. * It'll be a good oppor- 
tunity,' I said to myself, ' to kill two birds with one stone. 
Emily's people haven't gone out of town yet. I can call there 
in the morning, arrange to go to the theatre with them at night, 
and then drive at once to the Museum and see how much my 
find is worth.' 

Next morning I was off to town by an early train, and before 
one o'clock I had got to Emily's. 

' Why, Harold,' she cried, running down to meet me and kiss 
me in the passage (for she had seen me get out of my hansom 
from the drawing-room window), ' how on earth is it that you're 
up in town to-day ? I thought you were down at Lichfield still 
with your Oxford reading party.' 

* So I am,' I answered, * officially at Lichfield ; but I've come 
up to-day partly to see you, and partly on a piece of business about 
a new coin I've just got hold of.' 

* A coin ! ' Emily answered, pretending to pout. * Me and a 
coin ! That's how you link us together mentally, is it ? I declare, 
Harold, I shall be getting jealous of those coins of yours some 
day, I'm certain. You can't even come up to see me for a day, it 
seems, unless you've got some matter of a coin as well to bring 
you to London. Moral : never get engaged to a man with a fancy 
for collecting coins and medals.' 

' Oh, but this is really such a beauty, Emily,' I cried enthu- 
siastically. ' Just look at it, now. Isn't it lovely ? Do you notice 
the inscription " Wulfric Eex ! " I've never yet seen one any- 
where else at all like it.' 

Emily took it in her hands carelessly. ' I don't see any points 
about that coin in particular,' she answered in her bantering fashion, 
' more than about any other old coin that you'd pick up anywhere.' 



156 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

That was all we said then about the matter. Subsequent 
events engrained the very words of that short conversation into the 
inmost substance of my brain with indelible fidelity. I shall never 
forget them to my dying moment. 

I stopped about an hour altogether at Emily's, had lunch, and 
arranged that she and her mother should accompany me that 
evening to the Lyceum. Then I drove off to the British Museum, 
and asked for leave to examine the Anglo-Saxon coins of the 
Mercian period. 

The superintendent, who knew me well enough by sight and 
repute as a responsible amateur collector, readily gave me per- 
mission to look at a drawerful of the earliest Mercian gold and 
silver coinage. I had brought one or two numismatic books with 
me, and I sat down to have a good look at those delightful 
cases. 

After thoroughly examining the entire series and the docu- 
mentary evidence, I came to the conclusion that there was just 
one other gold Wulfric in existence besides the one I kept in my 
pocket, and that was the beautiful and well-preserved example in 
the case before me. It was described in the last edition of Sir 
Theophilus Wraxton's ' Northumbrian and Mercian Numismatist ' 
as an absolutely unique gold coin of Wulfric of Mercia, in imita- 
tion of the well-known aureus of the false emperor Carausius. I 
turned to the catalogue to see the price at which it had been 
purchased by the nation. To my intense surprise I saw it entered 
at 150?. 

I was perfectly delighted at my magnificent acquisition. 

On comparing the two examples, however, I observed that, 
though both struck from the same die and apparently at the same 
mint (to judge by the letter), they differed slightly from one 
another in two minute accidental particulars. My coin, being of 
course merely stamped with a hammer and then cut to shape, 
after the fashion of the time, was rather more closely clipped round 
the edge than the Museum specimen ; and it had also a slight 
dent on the obverse side, just below the W of Wulfric. In 
all other respects the two examples were of necessity absolutely 
identical. 

I stood for a long time gazing at the case and examining the 
two duplicates with the deepest interest, while the Museum 
keeper (a man of the name of Mactavish, whom I had often 
seen before on previous visits) walked about within sight, as is 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 157 

the rule on all such occasions, and kept a sharp look-out that I 
did not attempt to meddle with any of the remaining coins or 
cases. 

Unfortunately, as it turned out, I had not mentioned to the 
superintendent my own possession of a duplicate Wulfric ; nor 
had I called Mactavish's attention to the fact that I had pulled 
a coin of my own for purposes of comparison out of my waistcoat 
pocket. To say the truth, I was inclined to be a little secretive 
as yet about my gold Wulfric, because until I had found out all 
that was known about it I did not want anybody else to be told of 
my discovery. 

At last I had fully satisfied all my curiosity, and was just about 
to return the Museum Wulfric to its little round compartment in 
the neat case (having already replaced my own duplicate in my 
waistcoat pocket), when all at once, I can't say how, I gave a 
sudden start, and dropped the coin with a jerk unexpectedly upon 
the floor of the museum. 

It rolled away out of sight in a second, and I stood appalled 
in an agony of distress and terror in tbe midst of the gallery. 

Next moment I had hastily called Mactavish to my side, and 
got him to lock up the open drawer while we two went down on 
hands and knees and hunted through the length and breadth of 
the gallery for the lost Wulfric. 

It was absolutely hopeless. Plain sailing as the thing seemed, 
we could see no trace of the missing coin from one end of the 
room to the other. 

At last I leaned in a cold perspiration against the edge of one 
of the glass cabinets, and gave it up in despair with a sinking 
heart. * It's no use, Mactavish,' I murmured desperately ; ' the 
thing's lost, and we shall never find it.' 

Mactavish looked me quietly in the face. * In that case, sir,' 
he answered firmly, ' by the rules of the Museum I must call the 
superintendent.' He put his hand, with no undue violence, but 
in a strictly official manner, iipon my right shoulder. Then he 
blew a little whistle. 'I'm sorry to be rude to you, sir,' he went 
on, apologetically, 'but by the rules of the Museum I can't take 
my hand off you till the superintendent gives me leave to release 
you.' 

Another keeper answered the whistle. ' Send the superin- 
tendent,' Mactavish said quietly. ' A coin missing.' 

In a minute the superintendent was upon the spot. When 



158 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

Mactavish told him I had dropped the gold Wulfric of Mercia he 
shook his head very ominously. * This is a bad business, Mr. Tait,' 
he said gloomily. * A unique coin, as you know, and one of the 
most valuable in the whole of our large Anglo-Saxon collection.' 

' Is there a mouse-hole anywhere,' I cried in agony ; ' any place 
where it might have rolled down and got mislaid or concealed for 
the moment ? ' 

The superintendent went down instantly on his own hands and 
knees, pulled up every piece of the cocoa-nut matting with minute 
deliberation, searched the whole place thoroughly from end to 
end, but found nothing. He spent nearly an hour on that 
thorough search ; meanwhile,Mactavish never for a moment re- 
laxed his hold upon me. 

At last the superintendent desisted from the search as quite 
hopeless, and approached me very politely. 

< I'm extremely sorry, Mr. Tait,' he said in the most courteous 
possible manner, * but by the rules of the Museum I am absolutely 
compelled either to search you for the coin or to give you into 
custody. It may, you know, have got caught somewhere about 
your person. No doubt you would prefer, of the two, that I should 
look in all your pockets and the folds of your clothing.' 

The position was terrible. I could stand it no longer. 

* Mr. Harbourne,' I said, breaking out once more from head to 
foot into a cold sweat, * I must tell you the truth. I have brought 
a duplicate gold Wulfric here to-day to compare with the Museum 
specimen, and I have got it this very moment in my waistcoat 
pocket.' 

The superintendent gazed back at me with a mingled look of 
incredulity and pity. 

4 My dear sir,' he answered very gently, * this is altogether a 
most unfortunate business, but I'm afraid I must ask you to let 
me look at the duplicate you speak of.' 

I took it, trembling, out of my waistcoat pocket and handed it 
across to him without a word. The superintendent gazed at it for 
a moment in silence ; then, in a tone of the profoundest com- 
miseration, he said slowly, ' Mr. Tait, I grieve to be obliged to 
contradict you. This is our own specimen of the gold Wulfric ! ' 

The whole Museum whirled round me violently, and before I 
knew anything more I fainted. 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 159 



II. 

When I came to I found myself seated in the superintendent's 
room, with a policeman standing quietly in the background. 

As soon as I had fully recovered consciousness, the superin- 
tendent motioned the policeman out of the room for a while, and 
then gently forced me to swallow a brandy and soda. 

* Mr. Tait,' he said compassionately, after an awkward pause, 
* you are a very young man indeed, and, I believe, hitherto of 
blameless character. Now, I should be very sorry to have to pro- 
ceed to extremities against you. I know to what lengths, in a 
moment of weakness, the desire to possess a rare coin will often 
lead a connoisseur, under stress of exceptional temptation. I have 
not the slightest doubt in my own mind that you did really acci- 
dentally drop this coin ; that you went down on your knees 
honestly intending to find it ; that the accident suggested to you 
the ease with which you might pick it up and proceed to pocket 
it ; that you yielded temporarily to that unfortunate impulse ; 
and that by the time I arrived upon the scene you were already 
overcome with remorse and horror. I saw as much immediately 
in your very countenance. Nevertheless, I determined to give 
you the benefit of the doubt, and I searched over the whole place 
in the most thorough and conscientious manner. ... As you 
know, I found nothing. . . . Mr. Tait, I cannot bear to have 
to deal harshly with you. I recognise the temptation and the 
agony of repentance that instantly followed it. Sir, I give you 
one chance. If you will retract the obviously false story that you 
just now told me, and confess that the coin I found in your pocket 
was in fact, as I know it to be, the Museum specimen, I will 
forthwith dismiss the constable, and will never say another word 
to any one about the whole matter. I don't want to ruin you, but 
I can't, of course, be put off with a falsehood. Think the matter 
carefully over with yourself. Do you or do you not still adhere to 
that very improbable and incredible story ? ' 

Horrified and terror-stricken as I was, I couldn't avoid feeling 
grateful to the superintendent for the evident kindness with which 
he was treating me. The tears rose at once into my eyes. 

' Mr. Harbourne,' I cried passionately, ' you are very good, very 
generous. But you quite mistake the whole position. The story 
I told you was true, every word of it. I bought that gold Wulfric 
from a ploughman at Lichfield, and it is not absolutely identical 



160 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

with the Museum specimen which I dropped upon the floor. It 
is closer clipped around the edges, and it has a distinct dent upon 
the obverse side, just below the W of Wulfric.' 

The superintendent paused a second, and scanned my face very 
closely. 

* Have you a knife or a file in your pocket ? ' he asked in a 
much sterner and more official tone. 

* No,' I replied, * neither neither.' 

* You are sure ? ' 
Certain.' 

' Shall I search you myself, or shall I give you in custody ? ' 

f Search me yourself,' I answered confidently. 

He put his hand quietly into my left-hand breast pocket, and 
to my utter horror and dismay drew forth, what I had up to that 
moment utterly forgotten, a pair of folding pocket nail-scissors, 
in a leather case, of course with a little file on either side. 

My heart stood still within me. 

' That is quite sufficient, Mr. Tait,' the superintendent went 
on, severely. 'Had you alleged that the Museum coin was 
smaller than your own imaginary one you might have been able 
to put in the facts as good evidence. But I see the exact contrary 
is the case. You have stooped to a disgraceful and unworthy sub- 
terfuge. This base deception aggravates your guilt. You have 
deliberately defaced a valuable specimen in order if possible to 
destroy its identity.' 

What could I say in return ? I stammered and hesitated. 

' Mr. Harbourne,' I cried piteously, ' the circumstances seem 
to look terribly against me. But, nevertheless, you are quite 
mistaken. The missing Wulfric will come to light sooner or later 
and prove me innocent.' 

He walked up and down the room once or twice irresolutely, 
and then he turned round to me with a very fixed and determined 
aspect which fairly terrified me. 

1 Mr. Tait,' he said, ' I am straining every point possible to 
save you, but you make it very difficult for me by your continued 
falsehood. I am doing quite wrong in being so lenient to you ; I 
am proposing, in short, to compound a felony. But I cannot bear, 
without letting you have just one more chance, to give you in 
charge for a common robbery. I will let you have ten minutes to 
consider the matter ; and I beseech you, I beg of you, I implore 
you to retract this absurd and despicable lie before it is too late 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 161 

for ever. Just consider that if you refuse I shall have to hand you 
over to the constable out there, and that the whole truth must 
come out in court, and must be blazoned forth to the entire world 
in every newspaper. The policeman is standing here by the door. 
I will leave you alone with your own thoughts for ten minutes.' 

As he spoke he walked out gravely, and shut the door solemnly 
behind him. The clock on the chimney-piece pointed with its 
hands to twenty minutes past three. 

It was an awful dilemma. I hardly knew how to act under it. 
On the one hand, if I admitted for the moment that I had tried 
to steal the coin, I could avoid all immediate unpleasant circum- 
stances ; and as it would be sure to turn up again in cleaning the 
Museum, I should be able at last to prove my innocence to Mr. 
Harbourne's complete satisfaction. But, on the other hand, the 
lie for it was a lie stuck in my throat ; I could not humble 
myself to say I had committed a mean and dirty action which I 
loathed with all the force and energy of my nature. No, no ! 
come what would of it, I must stick by the truth, and trust to that 
to clear up everything. 

But if the superintendent really insisted on giving me in 
charge, how very awkward to have to telegraph about it to Emily ! 
Fancy saying to the girl you are in love with, * I can't go with you 
to the theatre this evening, because I have been taken off to gaol 
on a charge of stealing a valuable coin from the British Museum.' 
It was too terrible ! 

Yet, after all, I thought to myself, if the worst comes to the 
worst, Emily will have faith enough in me to know it is ridiculous ; 
and, indeed, the imputation could in any case only be temporary. 
As soon as the thing gets into court I could bring up the Lichfield 
ploughman to prove my possession of a gold Wulfric ; and I could 
bring up Emily to prove that I had shown it to her that very 
morning. How lucky that I had happened to take it out and let 
her look at it ! My case was, happily, as plain as a pikestaff. It 
was only momentarily that the weight of the evidence seemed so 
perversely to go against me. 

Turning over all these various considerations in my mind with 
anxious hesitancy, the ten minutes managed to pass away almost 
before I had thoroughly realised the deep gravity of the situation. 

As the clock on the chimney-piece pointed to the* half-hour, 
the door opened once more, and the superintendent entered 
solemnly. ' Well, Mr. Tait,' he said in an anxious voice, * have 

VOL. VT. XO. 32, X.S. 8 



162 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

you made up your mind to make a clean breast of it ? Do you 
now admit, after full deliberation, that you have endeavoured to 
steal and clip the gold Wulfric ? ' 

' No,' I answered firmly, ' I do not admit it ; and I will wil- 
lingly go before a jury of my countrymen to prove my innocence.' 

4 Then Grod help you, poor boy,' the superintendent cried 
despondently. * I have done my best to save you, and you will 
not let me. Policeman, this is your prisoner. I give him in 
custody on a charge of stealing a gold coin, the property of the 
trustees of this Museum, valued at 175Z. sterling.' 

The policeman laid his hand upon my wrist. * You will have 
to go along with me to the staljon, sir,' he said quietly. 

Terrified and stunned as I was by the awfulness of the accusa- 
tion, I could not forget or overlook the superintendent's evident 
reluctance and kindness. * Mr. Harbourne,' I cried, * you have 
tried to do your best for me. I am grateful to you for it, in spite 
of your terrible mistake, and I shall yet be able to show you that 
I am innocent.' 

He shook his head gloomily. ' I have done my duty,' he said 
with a shudder. ( I have never before had a more painful one. 
Policeman, I must ask you now to do yours.' 

III. 

The police are always considerate to respectable-looking 
prisoners, and I had no difficulty in getting the sergeant in charge 
of the lock-up to telegraph for me to Emily, to say that I was 
detained by important business, which would prevent me taking her 
and her mother to the theatre that evening. But when I explained 
to him that my detention was merely temporary, and that I should 
be able to disprove the whole story as soon as I went before 
the magistrates, he winked most unpleasantly at the constable 
who had brought me in, and observed in a tone of vulgar sarcasm, 
{ We have a good many gentlemen here who says the same, sir 
don't we, Jim ? but they don't always find it so easy as they 
expected when they stands up afore the beak to prove their state- 
ments.' 

I began to reflect that even a temporary prison is far from being 
a pleasant place for a man to stop in. 

Next morning they took me up before the magistrate, and as 
the Museum authorities of course proved a prima facie case 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 163 

against me, and as my solicitor advised me to reserve my defence, 
owing to the difficulty of getting up my witness from Lichfield in 
reasonable time, I was duly committed for trial at the next ses- 
sions of the Central Criminal Court. 

I had often read before that people had been committed for 
trial, but till that moment I had no idea what a very unpleasant 
sensation it really is. 

However, as I was a person of hitherto unblemished character, 
and wore a good coat made by a fashionable tailor, the magistrate 
decided to admit me to bail, if two sureties in 5001. each were 
promptly forthcoming for the purpose. Luckily, I had no diffi- 
culty in finding friends who believed in my story ; and as I felt sure 
the lost Wulfric would soon be found in cleaning the museum, I 
suffered perhaps a little less acutely than I might otherwise have 
done, owing to my profound confidence in the final triumph of the 
truth. 

Nevertheless, as the case would be fully reported next morn- 
ing in all the papers, I saw at once that I must go straight off and 
explain the matter without delay to Emily. 

I will not dwell upon that painful interview. I will only say 
that Emily behaved as I of course knew she would behave. She 
was horrified and indignant at the dreadful accusation; and, 
woman-like, she was very angry with the superintendent. ' He 
ought to have taken your word for it, naturally, Harold,' she cried 
through her tears. ' But what a good thing, anyhow, that you 
happened to show the coin to me. I should recognise it anywhere 
among ten thousand.' 

' That's well, darling,' I said, trying to kiss away her tears and 
cheer her up a little. ' I haven't the slightest doubt that when 
the trial comes we shall be able triumphantly to vindicate me 
from this terrible, groundless accusation.' 

IV. 

When the trial did actually come on, the Museum authorities 
began by proving their case against me in what seemed the most 
horribly damning fashion. The superintendent proved that on 
such and such a day, in such and such a case, he had seen a gold 
coin of Wulfric of Mercia, the property of the Museum. He and 
Mactavish detailed the circumstances under which the coin was 
lost. The superintendent explained how he had asked me to sub- 
mit to a search, and how, to avoid that indignity, I had myself 

82 



164 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

produced from my waistcoat-pocket a gold coin of Wulfric of 
Mercia, which I asserted to be a duplicate specimen, and my own 
property. The counsel for the Crown proceeded thus with the 
examination : 

* Do you recognise the coin I now hand you ? ' 
< 1 do.' 

1 What is it?' 

' The unique gold coin of Wulfric of Mercia, belonging to the 
Museum.' 

1 You have absolutely no doubt as to its identity ? ' 
4 Absolutely none whatsoever.' 

* Does it differ in any respect from the same coin as you pre- 
viously saw it ? ' 

.' Yes. It has been clipped round the edge with a sharp instru- 
ment, and a slight dent has been made by pressure on the obverse 
side, just below the W of Wulfric.' 

' Did you suspect the prisoner at the bar of having mutilated 
it?' 

' I did, and I asked him whether he had a knife in his posses- 
sion. He answered no. I then asked him whether he would sub- 
mit to be searched for a knife. He consented, and on my looking 
in his pocket I found the pair of nail-scissors I now produce, with 
a small file on. either side.' 

' Do you believe the coin might have been clipped with those 
scissors ? ' 

' I do. The gold is very soft, having little alloy in its compo- 
sition ; and it could be easily cut by a strong-wristed man with a 
knife or scissors.' 

As I listened, I didn't wonder that the jury looked as if they 
already -considered me guilty : but I smiled to myself when I 
thought how utterly Emily's and the ploughman's evidence would 
rebut this unworthy suspicion. 

The next witness was the Museum cleaner. His evidence at 
first produced nothing fresh, but just at last, counsel set before 
him a paper, containing a few scraps of yellow metal, and asked 
him triumphantly whether he recognised them. He answered 
yes. 

There was a profound silence. The court was interested and 
curious. I couldn't quite understand it all, but I felt a terrible 
sinking. 

* What are they ? ' asked the hostile barrister. 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 165 

'They are some fragments of gold which I found in shaking 
the cocoa-nut matting on the floor of gallery 27 the Saturday after 
the attempted theft.' 

I felt as if a mine had unexpectedly been sprung beneath me. 
How on earth those fragments of soft gold could ever have got 
there I couldn't imagine ; but I saw the damaging nature of this 
extraordinary and inexplicable coincidence in half a second. 

My counsel cross-examined all the witnesses for the prosecu- 
tion, but failed to elicit anything of any value from any one of 
them. On the contrary, his questions put to the metallurgist of 
the Mint, who was called to prove the quality of the gold, only 
brought out a very strong opinion to the effect that the clippings 
were essentially similar in character to the metal composing the 
clipped Wulfric. 

No wonder the jury seemed to think the case was going 
decidedly against me. 

Then my counsel called his witnesses. I listened in the pro- 
foundest suspense and expectation. 

The first witness was the ploughman from Lichfield. He was 
a well-meaning but very puzzle-headed old man, and he was evi- 
dently frightened at being confronted by so many clever wig- 
wearing barristers. 

Nevertheless, my counsel managed to get the true story out 
of him at last with infinite patience, dexterity, and skill. The old 
man told us finally how he had found the coins and sold them to 
me for five pounds ; and how one of them was of gold, with a 
queer head and goggle eyes pointed full face upon its surface. 

When he had finished, the counsel for the Crown began his 
cross-examination. He handed the ploughman a gold coin. ' Did 
you ever see that before? ' he asked quietly. 

'To be sure I did,' the man answered, looking at it open- 
mouthed. 

'What is it?' 

' It's the bit I sold Mr. Tait there the bit as I got out o' the 
old basin.' 

Counsel turned triumphantly to the judge. ' My lord,' he 
said, ' this thing to which the witness swears is a gold piece of 
Ethelwulf of Wessex, by far the commonest and cheapest gold coin 
of the whole Anglo-Saxon period.' 

It was handed to the jury side by side with the Wulfric 
of Mercia ; and the difference, as I knew myself, was in fact 



166 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

extremely noticeable. All that the old man could have observed in 
common between them must have been merely the archaic Anglo- 
Saxon character of the coinage. 

As I heard that I began to feel that it was really all over. 

My counsel tried on the re-examination to shake the old man's 
faith in his identification, and to make him transfer his story to 
the Wulfric which he had actually sold me. But it was all in 
vain. The ploughman had clearly the dread of perjury for ever 
before his eyes, and wouldn't go back for any consideration upon 
his first sworn statement. ' No, no, mister,' he said over and over 
again in reply to my counsel's bland suggestion, ' you ain't going 
to make me forswear myself for* all your cleverness.' 

The next witness was Emily. She went into the box pale and 
red-eyed, but very confident. My counsel examined her admirably ; 
and she stuck to her point with womanly persistence, that she 
had herself seen the clipped Wulfric, and no other coin, on the 
morning of the supposed theft. She knew it was so, because she 
distinctly remembered the inscription, * Wulfric Eex,' and the 
peculiar way the staring open eyes were represented with barbaric 
puerility. 

Counsel for the Crown would only trouble the young lady with 
two questions. The first was a painful one, but it must be asked 
in the interests of justice. Were she and the prisoner at the bar 
engaged to be married to one another ? 

The answer came, slowly and timidly, ' Yes.' 

Counsel drew a long breath, and looked her hard in the face. 
Could she read the inscription on that coin now produced? 
handing her the Ethelwulf. 

Great heavens ! I saw at once the plot to disconcert her, but 
was utterly powerless to warn her against it. 

Emily looked at it long and steadily. * No,' she said at last, 
growing deadly pale and grasping the woodwork of the witness- 
box convulsively ; ' I don't know the character in which it is 
written.' 

Of course not : for the inscription was in the peculiar semi- 
runic Anglo-Saxon letters ! She had never read the words 'Wulfric 
Kex ' either. I had read them to her, and she had carried them 
away vaguely in her mind, imagining no doubt that she herself 
had actually deciphered them. 

There was a slight pause, and I felt my blood growing cold 
within me. Then the counsel for the Crown handed her again 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 167 

the genuine Wulfric, and asked her whether the letters upon it 
which she professed to have read were or were not similar to those 
of the Ethelwulf. 

Instead of answering, Emily bent down her head between her 
hands, and burst suddenly into tears. 

I was so much distressed at her terrible agitation that I forgot 
altogether for the moment my own perilous position, and I cried 
aloud, ' My lord, my lord, will you not interpose to spare her any 
further questions ? ' 

' I think,' the judge said to the counsel for the Crown, * you 
might now permit the witness to stand down.' 

* I wish to re-examine, my lord,' my counsel put in hastily. 

* No,' I said in his ear, ' no. Whatever comes of it, not another 
question. I had far rather go to prison than let her suffer this 
inexpressible torture for a single minute longer.' 

Emily was led down, still crying bitterly, into the body of the 
court, and the rest of the proceedings went on uninterrupted. 

The theory of the prosecution was a simple and plausible one. 
I had bought a common Anglo-Saxon coin, probably an Ethelwulf, 
valued at about twenty-two shillings, from the old Lichfield 
ploughman. I had thereupon conceived the fraudulent idea of 
pretending that I had a duplicate of the rare Wulfric. I had 
shown the Ethelwulf, clipped in a particular fashion, to the lady 
whom I was engaged to marry. I had then defaced and altered 
the genuine Wulfric at the Museum into the same shape with the 
aid of my pocket nail-scissors. And I had finally made believe 
to drop the coin accidentally upon the floor, while I had really 
secreted it in my waistcoat pocket. The theory for the defence 
had broken down utterly ; and then there was the damning fact 
of the gold scrapings found in the cocoanut matting of the British 
Museum, which was to me the one great inexplicable mystery in 
the whole otherwise comprehensible mystification. 

I felt myself that the case did indeed look very black against 
me. But would a jury venture to convict me on such very doubt- 
ful evidence ? 

The jury retired to consider their verdict. I stood in suspense 
in the dock, with my heart loudly beating. Emily remained in 
the body of the court below, looking up at me tearfully and 
penitently. 

After twenty minutes the jury returned. 

* Guilty or not guilty ? ' 



168 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

The foreman answered aloud, ' Guilty.' 

There was a piercing cry in the body of the court, and in a 
moment Emily was carried out half fainting and half hysterical. 

The judge then calmly proceeded to pass sentence. He dwelt 
upon the enormity of my crime in one so well connected and so 
far removed from the dangers of mere vulgar temptations. He 
dwelt also upon the vandalism of which I had been guilty myself 
a collector in clipping and defacing a valuable and unique 
memorial of antiquity, the property of the nation. He did not 
wish to be severe upon a young man of hitherto blameless cha- 
racter ; but the national collection must be secured against such 
a peculiarly insidious and cunning form of depredation. The 
sentence of the court was that I should be kept in-r- 

Five years' penal servitude. 

Crushed and annihilated as I was, I had still strength to utter 
a single final word. ' My lord,' I cried, ( the missing Wulfric will 
yet be found, and will hereafter prove my perfect innocence.' 

' Kemove the prisoner,' said the judge, coldly. 

They took me down to the courtyard unresisting, where the 
prison van was standing in waiting. 

On the steps I saw Emily and her mother, both crying bitterly. 
They had been told the sentence already, and were waiting to 
take a last farewell of me. 

' Oh, Harold ! ' Emily cried, flinging her arms around me 
wildly, * it's all my fault ! It's my fault only ! By my foolish 
stupidity I've lost your case. I've sent you to prison. Oh, Harold, 
I can never forgive myself. I've sent you to prison. I've sent 
you to prison.' 

{ Dearest,' I said, * it won't be for long. I shall soon be free 
again. They'll find the Wulfric sooner or later, and then of 
course they'll let me out again.' 

' Harold,' she cried, ' oh, Harold, Harold, don't you see ? Don't 
you understand ? This is a plot against you. It isn't lost. It 
isn't lost. That would be nothing. It's stolen ; it's stolen ! ' 

A light burst in upon me suddenly, and I saw in a moment 
the full depth of the peril that surrounded me. 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 169 

PAKT II. 
I. 

IT was some time before I could sufficiently accustom myself to 
my new life in the Isle of Portland to be able to think clearly 
and distinctly about the terrible blow that had fallen upon me. 
In the midst of all the petty troubles and discomforts of prison 
existence, I had no leisure at first fully to realise the fact that I 
was a convicted felon with scarcely a hope not of release ; for 
that I cared little but of rehabilitation. 

Slowly, however, I began to grow habituated to the new hard 
life imposed upon me, and to think in my cell of the web of 
circumstance which had woven itself so irresistibly around me. 

I had only one hope. Emily knew I was innocent. Emily 
suspected, like me, that the Wulfric had been stolen. Emily 
would do her best, I felt certain, to heap together fresh evidence, 
and unravel this mystery to its very bottom. 

Meanwhile, I thanked Heaven for the hard mechanical daily 
toil of cutting^stone in Portland prison. I was a strong athletic 
young fellow enough. I was glad now that I had always loved 
the river at Oxford ; my arms were stout and muscular. I was 
able to take my part in the regular work of the gang to which I 
belonged. Had it been otherwise had I been set down to some 
quiet sedentary occupation, as first-class misdemeanants often are, 
I should have worn my heart out soon with thinking perpetually of 
poor Emily's terrible trouble. 

When I first came, the Deputy-Governor, knowing my case 
well (had there not been leaders about me in all the papers ?), 
very kindly asked me whether I would wish to be given work in 
the book-keeping department, where manj educated convicts were 
employed as clerks and assistants. But I begged particularly to 
be put into an outdoor gang, where I might have to use my limbs 
constantly, and so keep my mind from eating itself up with 
perpetual thinking. The Deputy-Governor immediately con- 
sented, and gave me work in a quarrying gang, at the west end of 
the island, near Deadman's Bay on the edge of the Chesil. 

For three months I worked hard at learning the trade of a 
quarryman, and succeeded far better than any of the other new 
hands who were set to learn at the same time with me. Their 

85 



170 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

heart was not in it ; mine was. Anything to escape that gnawing 
agony. 

The other men in the gang were not agreeable or congenial 
companions. They taught me their established modes of inter- 
communication, and told me several facts about themselves, which 
did not tend to endear them to me. One of them, 1247, was put 
in for the manslaughter of his wife by kicking ; he was a low- 
browed, brutal London drayman, and he occupied the next cell to 
mine, where he disturbed me much in my sleepless nights by his 
loud snoring. Another, a much slighter and more intelligent- 
looking man, was a skilled burglar, sentenced to fourteen years for 
' cracking a crib ' in the neighbourhood of Hampstead. A third 
was a sailor, convicted of gross cruelty to a defenceless Lascar. 
They all told me the nature of their crimes with a brutal frank- 
ness which fairly surprised me ; but when I explained to them in 
return that I had been put in upon a false accusation, they treated 
my remarks with a galling contempt that was absolutely unsup- 
portable. After a short time I ceased to communicate with my 
fellow-prisoners in any way, and remained shut up with my own 
thoughts in utter isolation. 

By-and-bye I found that the other men in the same gang 
were beginning to dislike me strongly, and that some among them 
actually whispered to one another what they seemed to consider 
a very strong point indeed against me that I must really have 
been convicted by mistake, and that I was a regular stuck-up 
sneaking Methodist. They complained that I worked a great deal 
too hard, and so made the other felons seem lazy by comparison ; 
and they also objected to my prompt obedience to our warder's 
commands, as tending to set up an exaggerated and impossible 
standard of discipline. 

Between this warder and myself, on the other hand, there soon 
sprang up a feeling which I might almost describe as one of 
friendship. Though by the rules of the establishment we could 
not communicate with one another except upon matters of busi- 
ness, I liked him for his uniform courtesy, kindliness, and for- 
bearance ; while I could easily see that he liked me in return, by 
contrast with the other men who were under his charge. He was 
one of those persons whom some experience of prisons then and 
since has led me to believe less rare than most people would 
imagine men in whom the dreary life of a prison warder, instead 
of engendering hardness of heart and cold unsympathetic stern- 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 171 

ness, has engendered a certain profound tenderness and melancholy 
of spirit. I grew quite fond of that one honest warder, among so 
many coarse and criminal faces ; and I found, on the other hand, 
that my fellow-prisoners hated me all the more because, as they 
expressed it in their own disgusting jargon, I was sucking up to 
that confounded dog of a barker. It happened once, when I was 
left for a few minutes alone with the warder, that he made an 
attempt for a moment, contrary to regulations, to hold a little 
private conversation with me. 

' 1430,' he said in a low voice, hardly moving his lips, for fear 
of being overlooked, * what is your outside name ? ' 

I answered quietly, without turning to look at him, ' Harold 
Tait.' 

He gave a little involuntary start. ' What ! ' he cried. * Not 
him that took a coin from the British Museum ? ' 

I bridled up angrily. ' I did not take it,' I cried with all my 
soul. * I am innocent, and have been put in here by some terrible 
error.' 

He was silent for half a second. Then he said musingly, < Sir, 
I believe you. You are speaking the truth. I will do all I can to 
make things easy for you.' 

That was all he said then. But from that day forth he 
always spoke to me in private as ' Sir,' and never again as ' 1430.' 

An incident arose at last out of this condition of things which 
had a very important effect upon my future position. 

One day, about three months after I was committed to prison, 
we were all told off as usual to work in a small quarry on the cliff- 
side overhanging the long expanse of pebbly beach known as the 
Chesil. I had reason to believe afterwards that a large open 
fishing boat lying upon the beach below at the moment had been 
placed there as part of a concerted scheme by the friends of the 
Hampstead burglar ; and that it contained ordinary clothing for 
all the men in our gang, except myself only. The idea was 
evidently that the gang should overpower the warder, seize the 
boat, change their clothes instantly, taking turns about meanwhile 
with the navigation, and make straight off for the shore at 
Lulworth, where they could easily disperse without much chance 
of being re-captured. But of all this I was of course quite 
ignorant at the time, for they had not thought well to intrust 
their secret to the ears of the sneaking virtuous Methodist. 

A few minutes after we arrived at the quarry, I was working 



172 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

with two other men at putting a blast in, when I happened to 
look round quite accidentally, and, to my great horror, saw 1247, 
the brutal wife-kicker, standing behind with a huge block of stone 
in his hands, poised just above the warder's head, in a threatening 
attitude. The other men stood around waiting and watching. I 
had only just time to cry out in a tone of alarm, 'Take care, 
warder, he'll murder you ! ' when the stone descended upon the 
warder's head, and he fell at once, bleeding and half senseless, 
upon the ground beside me. In a second, while he shrieked and 
struggled, the whole gang was pressing -savagely and angrily 
around him. 

There was no time to think or hesitate. Before I knew almost 
what I was doing, I had seized his gun and ammunition, and, 
standing over his prostrate body, I held the men at bay for a 
single moment. Then 1247 advanced threateningly, and tried to 
put his foot upon the fallen warder. 

I didn't wait or reflect one solitary second. I drew the trigger, 
and fired full upon him. The bang sounded fiercely in my ears, 
and for a moment I could see nothing through the smoke of the 
rifle. 

With a terrible shriek he fell in front of me, not dead, but 
seriously wounded. 

' The boat, the boat,' the others cried loudly. ' Knock him 
down ! Kill him ! Take the boat, all of you.' 

At that moment the report of my shot had brought another 
warder hastily to the top of the quarry. 

* Help, help ! ' I cried. Come quick, and save us. These 
brutes are trying to murder our warder ! ' 

The man rushed back to call for aid ; but the way down the 
zigzag path was steep and tortuous, and it was some time before 
they could manage to get down and succour us. 

Meanwhile the other convicts pressed savagely around us, 
trying to jump upon the warder's body and force their way past 
to the beach beneath us. I fired again, for the rifle was double- 
barrelled ; but it was impossible to reload in such a tumult, so, 
after the next shot, which hit no one, I laid about me fiercely 
with the butt end of the gun, and succeeded in knocking down 
four of the savages, one after another. By that time the warders 
from above had safely reached us, and formed a circle of fixed 
bayonets around the rebellious prisoners. 

' Thank Grod ! ' I cried, flinging down the rifle, and rushing up 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 173 

to the prostrate warder. ' He is still alive. He is breathing ! He 
is breathing ! ' 

' Yes,' he murmured in a faint voice, ' I am alive, and I thank 
you for it. But for you, sir, these fellows here would certainly 
have murdered me.' 

* You are badly wounded yourself, 1430,' one of the other 
warders said to me, as the rebels were rapidly secured and marched 
off sullenly back to the prison. ' Look, your own arm is bleeding 
fiercely.' 

Then for the first time I was aware that I was one mass of 
wounds from head to foot, and that I was growing faint from loss 
of blood. In defending the fallen warder I had got punched and 
pummelled on every side, just the same as one used to get long 
ago in a bully at football when I was a boy at Eugby, only much 
more seriously. 

The warders brought down seven stretchers : one for me ; one 
for the wounded warder ; one for 1 247, whom I had shot ; and 
four for the convicts whom I had knocked over with the butt end 
of the rifle. They carried us up on them, strongly guarded, in a 
long procession. 

At the door of the infirmary the Governor met us. * 1430,' 
he said to me, in a very kind voice, 'you have behaved most 
admirably. I saw you myself quite distinctly from my drawing- 
room windows. Your bravery and intrepidity are well deserving 
of the highest recognition.' 

( Sir,' I answered, 'I have only tried to do my duty. I couldn't 
stand by and see an innocent man murdered by such a pack of 
bloodthirsty ruffians.' 

The Governor turned aside a little surprised. ' Who is 1430?' 
he asked quietly. 

A subordinate, consulting a book, whispered my name and 
supposed crime to him confidentially. The Governor nodded 
twice, and seemed to be satisfied. 

' Sir,' the wounded warder said faintly from his stretcher, 
' 1430 is an innocent man unjustly condemned, if ever there was 
one.' 

II. 

On the Thursday week following, when my wounds were all 
getting well, the whole body of convicts was duly paraded at 
half-past eleven in front of the Governor's house. 



174 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

The Grovernor came out, holding an official-looking paper in 
his right hand. 'No. 1430,' he said in a loud voice, 'stand 
forward.' And I stood forward. 

'No. 1430, I have the pleasant duty of informing you, in face 
of all your fellow-prisoners, that your heroism and self-devotion 
in saving the life of Warder James Woollacott, when he was 
attacked and almost overpowered on the 20th of this month by a 
gang of rebellious convicts, has been reported to Her Majesty's 
Secretary of State for the Home Department ; and that on his 
recommendation Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant 
you a Free Pardon for the remainder of the time during which 
you were sentenced to penal servitude.' 

For a moment I felt quite stunned and speechless. I reeled 
on my feet so much that two of the warders jumped forward to 
support me. It was a great thing to have at least one's freedom. 
But in another minute the real meaning of the thing came clearer 
upon me, and I recoiled from the bare sound of those horrid words, 
a Free Pardon. I didn't want to be pardoned like a convicted 
felon : I wanted to have my innocence proved before the eyes of 
all England. For my own sake, and still more for Emily's sake, 
rehabilitation was all I cared for. 

' Sir,' I said, touching my cap respectfully, and saluting the 
Governor according to our wonted prison discipline, ' I am very 
greatly obliged to you for your kindness in having made this 
representation to the Home Secretary ; but I feel compelled to 
say I cannot accept a free pardon. 1 am wholly guiltless of the 
crime of which I have been convicted ; and I wish that instead of 
pardoning me the Home Secretary would give instructions to the. 
detective police to make a thorough investigation of the case, with 
the object of proving my complete innocence. Till that is done, 
I prefer to remain an inmate of Portland Prison. What I wish is 
not pardon, but to be restored as an honest man to the society of 
my equals.' 

The Grovernor paused for a moment, and consulted quietly in 
an undertone with one or two of his subordinates. Then he 
turned to me with great kindness, and said in a loud voice, ' No. 
1430, I have no power any longer to detain you in this prison, 
even if I wished to do so, after you have once obtained Her 
Majesty's free pardon. My duty is to dismiss you at once, in 
accordance with the terms of this document. However, I will 
communicate the substance of your request to the Home Secretary, 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 175 

with whom such a petition, so made, will doubtless have the full 
weight that may rightly attach to it. You must now go with 
these warders, who will restore you your own clothes, and then 
formally set you at liberty. But if there is anything further you 
would wish to speak to me about, you can do so afterward in your 
private capacity as a free man at two o'clock in my own office.' 

I thanked him quietly and then withdrew. At two o'clock I 
duly presented myself in ordinary clothes at the Governor's office. 

We had a long and confidential interview, in the course of 
which I was able to narrate to the Governor at full length all the 
facts of my strange story exactly as I have here detailed them. 
He listened to me with the greatest interest, checking and con- 
firming my statements at length by reference to the file of papers 
brought to him by a clerk. When I had finished my whole story, 
he said to me quite simply, ( Mr. Tait, it may be imprudent of me 
in my position and under such peculiar circumstances to say so, 
but I fully and unreservedly believe your statement. If anything 
that I can say or do can be of any assistance to you in proving 
your innocence, I shall be very happy indeed to exert all my 
influence in your favour.' 

I thanked him warmly with tears in my eyes. 

' And there is one point in your story,' he went on, ' to which 
I, who have seen a good deal of such doubtful cases, attach the 
very highest importance. You say that gold clippings, pronounced 
to be similar in character to the gold Wulfric, were found shortly 
after by a cleaner at the Museum on the cocoa-nut matting of the 
floor where the coin was examined by you ? ' 

I nodded, blushing crimson. ' That,' I said, ' seems to me the 
strangest and most damning circumstance against me in the whole 
story.' 

' Precisely,' the Governor answered quietly. ' And if what you 
say is the truth (as I believe it to be), it is also the circumstance 
which best gives us a cue to use against the real culprit. The 
person who stole the coin was too clever by half, or else not quite 
clever enough for his own protection. In manufacturing that last 
fatal piece of evidence against you he was also giving you a certain 
clue to his own identity.' 

'How so ? ' I asked, breathless. 

' Why, don't you see ? The thief must in all probability have 
been somebody connected with the Museum. He must have seen 
you comparing the Wulfric with your own coin. He must have 



176 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

picked it up aiid carried it off secretly at the moment you dropped 
it. He must have clipped the coin to manufacture further hostile 
evidence. And he must have dropped the clippings afterwards on 
the cocoa-nut matting in the same gallery on purpose in order to 
heighten the suspicion against you.' 

' You are right,' I cried, brightening up at the luminous sug- 
gestion ' you are right, obviously. And there is only one man 
who could have seen and heard enough to carry out this abominable 
plot Mactavish ! ' 

1 Well, find him out and prove the case against him, Mr. Tait,' 
the Governor said warmly, ' and if you send him here to us I can 
promise you that he will be weH taken care of.' 

I bowed and thanked him, and was about to withdraw, but he 
held out his hand to me with perfect frankness. 

'Mr. Tait,' he said, * I can't let you go away so. Let me have 
your hand in token that you bear us no grudge for the way we 
have treated you during your unfortunate imprisonment, and that 
I, for my part, am absolutely satisfied of the truth of your state- 
ment.' 

HI. 

The moment I arrived in London I drove straight off without 
delay to Emily's. I had telegraphed beforehand that I had been 
granted a free pardon, but had not stopped to tell her why or 
under what conditions. 

Emily met me in tears in the passage. ' Harold ! Harold ! ' 
she cried, flinging her arms wildly around me. ' Oh, my darling ! 
my darling ! how can I ever say it to you ? Mamma says she 
won't allow me to see you here any longer.' 

It was a terrible blow, but I was not unprepared for it. How 
could I expect that poor, conventional, commonplace old lady to 
have any faith in me after all she had read about me in the news- 
papers ? 

* Emily,' I said, kissing her over and over again tenderly, * you 
must come out with me, then, this very minute, for I want to talk 
with you over matters of importance. Whether your mother 
wishes it or not, you must come out with me this very minute.' 

Emily put on her bonnet hastily and walked out with me into 
the streets of London. It was growing dark, and the neighbour- 
hood was a very quiet one ; or else perhaps even my own Emily 
would have felt a little ashamed of walking about the streets of 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 177 

London with a man whose hair was still cropped short around his 
head like a common felon's. 

I told her all the story of my release, and Emily listened to it 
in profound silence. 

* Harold ! ' she cried, ' my darling Harold ! ' (when I told her 
the tale of my desperate battle over the fallen warder), < you are 
the bravest and best of men. I knew you would vindicate your- 
self sooner or later. What we have to do now is to show that 
Mactavish stole the Wulfric. I know he stole it ; I read it at the 
trial in his clean-shaven villain's face. I shall prove it still, and 
then you will be justified in the eyes of everybody.' 

' But how can we manage to communicate meanwhile, darling ? ' 
I cried eagerly. ' If your mother won't allow you to see me, how 
are we ever to meet and consult about it ? ' 

' There's only one way, Harold only one way ; and as things 
now stand you mustn't think it strange of me to propose it. 
Harold, you must marry me immediately, whether mamma will 
let us or not ! ' 

' Emily ! ' I cried, ' my own darling ! your confidence and trust 
in me makes me I can't tell you how proud and happy. That you 
should be willing to marry me even while I am under such a cloud 
as this gives me a greater proof of your love than anything else 
you could possibly do for me. But, darling, I am too proud to 
take you at your word. For your sake, Emily, I will never marry 
you until all the world has been compelled unreservedly to admit 
my innocence.' 

Emily blushed and cried a little. ' As you will, Harold, 
dearest,' she answered, trembling, ' I can afford to wait for you. 
I know that in the end the truth will be established.' 



IV. 

A week or two later I was astonished one morning at receiving 
a visit in my London lodgings from the warder Woollacott, whose 
life I had been happily instrumental in saving at Portland Prison. 

' Well, sir,' he said, grasping my hand warmly and gratefully, 
' you see I haven't yet entirely recovered from that terrible morn- 
ing. I shall bear the marks of it about me for the remainder of 
my lifetime. The Governor says I shall never again be fit for 
duty, so they've pensioned me off very honourable.' 

I told him how pleased I was that he should have been 



178 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

liberally treated, and then we fell into conversation about myself 
and the means of re-establishing my perfect innocence. 

' Sir,' said he, ' I shall have plenty of leisure, and shall be 
comfortably off now. If there's anything that I can do to be of 
service to you in the matter, I shall gladly do it. My time is 
entirely at your disposal.' 

I thanked him warmly, but told him that the affair was already 
in the hands of the regular detectives, who had been set to work 
upon it by the Governor's influence with the Home Secretary. 

By-and-bye I happened to mention confidentially to him my 
suspicions of the man Mactavish. An idea seemed to occur to the 
warder suddenly ; but he said not a word to me about it at the 
time. A few days later, however, he came back to me quietly and 
said, in a confidential tone of voice, ' Well, sir, I think we may 
still manage to square him.' 

* Square who, Mr. Woollacott ? I don't understand you.' 

' Why, Mactavish, sir. I found out he had a small house near 
the Museum, and his wife lets a lodging there for a single man. 
I've gone and taken the lodging, and I shall see whether in" the 
course of time something or other doesn't come out of it.' 

I smiled and thanked him for his enthusiasm in my cause ; 
but I confess I didn't see how anything on earth of any use to me 
was likely to arise from this strange proceeding on his part. 



V. 

It was that same week, I believe, that I received two other 
unexpected visitors. They came together. One of them was the 
Superintendent of Coins at the British Museum ; the other was 
the well-known antiquary and great authority upon the Anglo- 
Saxon coinage, Sir Theophilus Wraxton. 

'Mr. Tait,' the superintendent began, not without some touch 
of natural shame-facedness in his voice and manner, ' I have reason 
to believe that I may possibly have been mistaken in my positive 
identification of the coin you showed me that day at the Museum 
as our own specimen of the gold Wulfric. If I was mistaken, then 
I have unintentionally done you a most grievous wrong ; and for 
that wrong, should my suspicions turn out ill-founded, I shall owe 
you the deepest and most heart-felt apologies. But the only 
reparation I can possibly make you is the one I am doing to-day 
by bringing here my friend Sir Theophilus Wraxton. He has a 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 179 

communication of some importance to make to you ; and if he is 
right, I can only beg your pardon most humbly for the error I have 
committed in what I believed to be the discharge of my duties.' 

' Sir,' I answered, ' I saw at the time that you were the victim 
of a mistake, as I was the victim of a most unfortunate concur- 
rence of circumstances ; and I bear you no grudge whatsoever for 
the part you bore in subjecting me to what is really in itself a 
most unjust and unfounded suspicion. You only did what you 
believed to be your plain duty ; and you did it with marked re- 
luctance, and with every desire to leave me every possible loophole 
of escape from what you conceived as a momentary yielding to 
a vile temptation. But what is it that Sir Theophilus Wraxton 
wishes to tell me ? ' 

'Well, my dear sir,' the old gentleman began, warmly, 'I 
haven't the slightest doubt in the world myself that you have been 
quite unwarrantably disbelieved about a plain matter of fact that 
ought at once to have been immediately apparent to anybody who 
knew anything in the world about the gold Anglo-Saxon coinage. 
No reflection in the world upon you, Harbourne, my dear friend 
no reflection in the world upon you in the matter ; but you must 
admit that you've been pig-headedly hasty in jumping to a con- 
clusion, and ignorantly determined in sticking to it against better 
evidence. My dear sir, I haven't the very slightest doubt in the 
world that the coin now in the British Museum is not the one 
which I have seen there previously, and which I have figured 
in the third volume of my " Early Northumbrian and Mercian 
Numismatist ! " Quite otherwise ; quite otherwise, I assure you.' 

* How do you recognize that it is different, sir ? ' I cried 
excitedly. 'The two coins were struck at just the same mint 
from the same die, and I examined them closely together, and 
saw absolutely no difference between them, except the dent and 
the amount of the clipping.' 

* Quite true, quite true,' the old gentleman replied with great 
deliberation. ' But look here, sir. Here is the drawing I took of 
the Museum Wulfric fourteen years ago, for the third volume of 
my " Northumbrian Numismatist." That drawing was made with 
the aid of careful measurements, which you will find detailed in 
the text at page 230. Now, here again is the duplicate Wulfric 
permit me to call it your Wulfric ; and if you will compare the 
two you'll find, I think, that though your Wulfric is a great deal 
smaller than the original one, taken as a whole, yet on one 



180 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

diameter, the diameter from the letter U in Wulfric to the letter 
K in Kex, it is nearly an eighth of an inch broader than the 
specimen I have there figured. Well, sir, you may cut as much 
as you like off a coin, and make it smaller ; but hang me if by 
cutting away at it for all your lifetime you can make it an eighth 
of an inch broader anyhow, in any direction.' 

I looked immediately at the coin, the drawing, and the 
measurements in the book, and saw at a glance that Sir Theophilus 
was right. 

' How on earth did you find it out ? ' I asked the bland old 
gentleman, breathlessly. 

' Why, my dear sir, I remembered the old coin perfectly, 
having been so very particular in my drawing and measurement ; 
and the moment I clapped eyes on the other one yesterday, I said 
to my good friend Harbourne, here : " Harbourne," said I, " some- 
body's been changing your Wulfric in the case over yonder for 
another specimen." " Changing it ! " said Harbourne : " not a bit of 
it ; clipping it, you mean." " No, no, my .good fellow," said I : " do 
you suppose I don't know the same coin again when I see it, and 
at my time of life too ? This is another coin, not the same one 
clipped. It's bigger across than the old one from there to there." 
" No, it isn't," says he. * But it is," I answer. " Just you look in 
my ' Northumbrian and Mercian ' and see if it isn't so." " You 
must be mistaken," says Harbourne. " If I am, I'll eat my head," 
says I. Well, we get down the ' Numismatist ' from the bookshelf 
then and there ; and sure enough, it turns out just as I told him. 
Harbourne turned as white as a ghost, I can tell you, as soon as 
he discovered it. " Why," says he, " I've sent a poor young fellow 
off to Portland Prison, only three or four months ago, for stealing 
that very Wulfric." And then he told me all the story. " Very 
well," said I, " then the only thing you've got to do is just to go 
and call on him to-morrow, and let him know that you've had it 
proved to you, fairly proved to YOU, that this is not the original 
Wulfric." ' 

* Sir Theophilus,' I said, * I'm much obliged to you. What 
you point out is by far the most important piece of evidence I've 
yet had to offer. Mr. Harbourne, have you kept the gold clip- 
pings that were found that morning on the cocoanut matting ? ' 

' I .have, Mr. Tait,' the Superintendent answered anxiously. 
* And Sir Theophilus and I have been trying to fit them upon the 
coin in the Museum shelves ; and I am bound to admit I quite 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 181 

agree with him that they must have been cut off a specimen 
decidedly larger in one diameter and smaller in another than the 
existing one in short, that they do not fit the clipped Wulfric 
now in the Museum.' 

VI. 

It was just a fortnight later that.T received quite unexpectedly 
a telegram from Rome directed to me at my London lodgings. I 
tore it open hastily ; it was signed by Emily, and contained only 
these few words : ' We have found the Museum Wulfric. The 
Superintendent is coming over to identify and reclaim it. Can 
you manage to run across immediately with him ? ' 

For a moment I was lost in astonishment, delight, and fear. 
How and why had Emily gone over to Rome ? Who could she 
have with her to take care of her and assist her ? How on earth 
had she tracked the missing coin to its distant hiding-place ? It 
was all a profound mystery to me ; and after my first outburst of 
joy and gratitude, I began to be afraid that Emily might have 
been misled by her eagerness and anxiety into following up the 
traces of the wrong coin. 

However, I had no choice but to go to Rome and see the matter 
ended ; and I went alone, wearing out my soul through that long 
journey with suspense and fear ; for I had not managed to hit 
upon the superintendent, who, through his telegram being 
delivered a little the sooner, had caught a train six hours earlier 
than the one I went by. 

As I arrived at the Central Station at Rome, I was met, to my 
surprise, by a perfect crowd of familiar faces. First, Emily her- 
self rushed to me, kissed me, and assured me a hundred times 
over that it was all right, and that the missing coin was undoubtedly 
recovered. Then, the superintendent, more shame-faced than 
ever, and very grave, but with a certain moisture in his eyes, 
confirmed her statement by saying that he had got the real 
Museum Wulfric undoubtedly in his pocket. Then Sir Theophilus, 
who had actually come across with Lady Wraxton on purpose to 
take care of Emily, added, his assurances and congratulations. 
Last of all, Woollacott, the warder, stepped up to me and said 
simply, * I'm glad, sir, that it was through me as it all came out 
so right and even.' 

* Tell me how it all happened,' I cried, almost faint with joy, 



182 THE GOLD WULFRIC. 

and still wondering whether my innocence had really been proved 
beyond all fear of cavil. 

Then Woollacott began, and told me briefly the whole story. 
He had consulted with the Superintendent and Sir Theophilus, 
without saying a word to me about it, and had kept a close watch 
upon all the letters that came for Mactavish. A rare Anglo-Saxon 
coin is not a chattel that one can easily get rid of every day ; and 
Woollacott shrewdly gathered from what Sir Theophilus had told 
him that Mactavish (or whoever else had stolen the coin) would 
be likely to try to dispose of it as far away from England as 
possible, especially after all the comments that had been made on 
this particular Wulfric in the English newspapers. So he took 
every opportunity of intercepting the postman at the front door, 
and looking out for envelopes with foreign postage stamps. At 
last one day a letter arrived for Mactavish with an Italian stamp 
and a cardinal's red hat stamped like a crest on the flap of the 
envelope. Woollacott was certain that things of that sort didn't 
come to Mactavish every day about his ordinary business. Braving 
the penalties for appropriating a letter, he took the liberty to open 
this suspicious communication, and found it was a note from 
Cardinal Trevelyan, the Pope's Chamberlain, and a well-known 
collector of antiquities referring to early Church history in England, 
and that it was in reply to an offer of Mactavish's to send the 
Cardinal for inspection a rare gold coin not otherwise specified. 
The Cardinal expressed his readiness to see the coin, and to pay 
150 for it, if it proved to be rare and genuine as described. 
Woollacott felt certain that this communication must refer to the 
gold Wulfric. He therefore handed the letter to Mrs. Mactavish 
when the postman next came his rounds, and waited to see whether 
Mactavish any day afterwards went to the post to register a small 
box or packet. Meanwhile he communicated with Emily and the 
Superintendent, being unwilling to buoy me up with a doubtful 
hope until he was quite sure that their plan had succeeded. The 
Superintendent wrote immediately to the Cardinal, mentioning 
his suspicions, and received a reply to the effect that he expected 
a coin of Wulfric to be sent him shortly. Sir Theophilus, who 
had been greatly interested in the question of the coin, kindly 
offered to take Emily over to Kome, in order to get the criminat- 
ing piece, as soon as it arrived, from Cardinal Trevelyan. That 
was, in turn, the story that they all told me, piece by piece, in the 
Central Station at Rome that eventful morning. 



THE GOLD WULFRIC. 183 

* And Mactavish ? ' I asked of the Superintendent eagerly. 

' Is in custody in London already,' he answered somewhat 
sternly. ( I had a warrant out against him before I left town on 
this journey.' 

At the trial the whole case was very clearly proved against him, 
and my innocence was fully established before the face of all my 
fellow-countrymen. A fortnight later my wife and I were among 
the rocks and woods at Ambleside ; and when I returned to 
London, it was to take a place in the department of coins at 
the British Museum, which the Superintendent begged of me to 
accept as some further proof in the eyes of everybody that the 
suspicion he had formed in the matter of the Wulfric was a most 
unfounded and wholly erroneous one. The coin itself I kept as a 
memento of a terrible experience ; but I have given up collecting 
on my own account entirely, and am quite content now-a-days to 
bear my share in guarding the national collection from other 
depredators of the class of Mactavish. 



184 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 

' ONCE upon a time,' says that delicious creation of Lewis Carroll's, 
the Mock Turtle, ' I was a real turtle ! ' Once upon a time, the 
modern sole might with greater truth plaintively observe, I was 
a very respectable sort of a young cod fish. In those happy days, 
my head was not unsymmetrically twisted and distracted all on 
one side ; my mouth did not open laterally instead of vertically ; 
my two eyes were not incongruously congregated on the right 
half of my distorted visage ; and my whole body was not arrayed, 
like a Portland convict's, in a parti-coloured suit, dark-brown on 
the right and fleshy-white on the left department of my unfor- 
tunate person. When I was young and innocent, I looked ex- 
ternally very much like any other swimming thing, except to be 
sure that I was perfectly transparent, like a speck of jellyfish. I 
had one eye on each side of my head ; my face and mouth were 
a model of symmetry ; and I swam upright like the rest of my 
kind, instead of all on one side after the bad habit of my own 
immediate family. Such, in fact, is the true portrait of the baby 
sole, for the first few days after it has been duly hatched out of 
the eggs deposited on the shallow spawning places by the mother 
fishes. 

After some weeks, however, a change comes o'er the spirit of 
the young flat-fish's dream of freedom. In his very early life he 
is a wanderer and a vagabond on the face of the waters, leading 
what the scientific men prettily describe as a pelagic existence, 
and much more frequently met with in the open sea than among 
the shallows and sandbanks which are to form the refuge of his 
maturer years. But soon his Wanderjdhre are fairly over : the 
transparency of early youth fades out with him exactly as it fades 
out in the human subject : he begins to seek the recesses of the 
sea, settles down quietly in a comfortable hollow, and gives up 
his youthful Bohemian aspirations in favour of safety and respecta- 
bility on a sandy bottom. This, of course, is all as it should be ; 
in thus sacrificing freedom to the necessities of existence he only 
follows the universal rule of animated nature. But like all the 
rest of us when we settle down into our final groove, he shortly 
begins to develop a tendency towards distinct one-sidedness. 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 185 

Lying flat on the sand upon his left cheek and side, he quickly 
undergoes a strange metamorphosis from the perfect and sym- 
metrical to the lopsided condition. His left eye, having now 
nothing in particular to look at on the sands below, takes naturally 
to squinting as hard as it can round the corner, to observe the 
world above it ; and so effectually does it manage to squint that 
it at last pulls all the socket and surrounding parts clean round 
the head to the right or upper surface. In short, the young sole 
lies on his left side till that half of his face (except the mouth) 
is compelled to twist itself round to the opposite cheek, thus 
giving him through life the appearance constantly deprecated 
by nurses who meet all unilateral grimaces on the part of their 
charges with the awful suggestion, ' Suppose you were to be struck 
so ! ' The young sole is actually struck so, and remains in that 
distressing condition ever afterward. 

This singular early history of the individual sole evidently 
recapitulates for us in brief the evolutionary history of the entire 
group to which he belongs. It is pretty clear (to believers at 
least) that the prime ancestor of all the flat-fish was a sort of cod, 
and that his descendants only acquired their existing flatness by 
long persistence in the pernicious habit of lying always entirely 
on one side. Why the primaeval flat-fish first took to this queer 
custom is equally easy to understand. Soles, turbots, plaice, brill, 
and other members of the flat-fish family are all, as we well 
know, very excellent edible fishes. Their edibility is as highly 
appreciated by the sharks and dogfish as by the enlightened 
public of a Christian land. Moreover, they are ill-provided with 
any external protection, having neither fierce jaws, like the pike 
and shark, efficient weapons of attack, like the swordfish and 
the electric eel, or stout defensive armour, like the globefish, the 
filefish, and the bony pike, whose outer covering is as effectually 
repellent as that of a tortoise, an armadillo, or a hedgehog. The 
connection between these apparently dissimilar facts is by no 
means an artificial one. Fish which possess one form of protection 
seldom require the additional aid of another : for example, all 
the electric fish have scaleless bodies, for the very simple reason 
that no unwary larger species is at all likely to make an attempt 
to bite them across the middle ; if it did, it would soon retire 
with a profound respect through all its future life for the latent 
resources of electrical science. But the defenceless ancestor of 
the poor flat-fishes was quite devoid of any such offensive or 

VOL. VI. NO. 32, N.S. 9 



186 SOLES AND TURBOT. 

defensive armour, and if he was to survive at all he must look 
about (metaphorically speaking) for some other means of sharing 
in the survival of the fittest. He found it in the now-ingrained 
habit of skulking unperceived on the sandy bottom. By that 
plan he escaped the notice of his ever-present and watchful 
enemies. He followed (unconsciously) the good advice of the 
Koman poet : bene latuit. 

But when the father of all soles (turbot, brill, and dabs in- 
cluded) first took to the family trick of lying motionless on the 
sea bottom, two courses lay open before him. (That there were 
not three was probably due to the enforced absence of Mr. Glad- 
stone.) He might either have lain flat on his under-surface, like 
the rays and skates, in which case he would of course have 
flattened out symmetrically sideways, with both his eyes in their 
normal position ; or he might have lain on the right or left side 
exclusively, in which case one side would soon practically come to 
be regarded as the top and the other side as the bottom surface. 
For some now almost incomprehensible reason, the father of all 
soles chose the latter and more apparently uncomfortable of these 
two possible alternatives. Imagine yourself to lie (as a baby) on 
your left cheek till your left eye gradually twists round to a new 
position close beside its right neighbour, while your mouth still 
continues to open in the middle of your face as before, and you 
will have some faint comparative picture of the personal evolution 
of an infant sole. Only you must of course remember that this 
curious result of hereditary squinting, transmitted in unbroken 
order through so many generations, is greatly facilitated by the 
cartilaginous nature of the skull in young flat-fish. 

When once the young sole has taken permanently to lying 
on his left side, he is no longer able to swim vertically ; he can 
only wriggle along sideways on the bottom, with a peculiarly 
slow, sinuous, and undulating motion. In fact, it would be a 
positive disadvantage to him to show himself in the upper waters, 
and for this very purpose Nature, with her usual foresight, has 
deprived him altogether of a swim bladder, by whose aid most 
other fishes constantly regulate their specific gravity, so as to rise 
or sink at will in the surrounding medium. Some people may 
indeed express surprise at learning that fish know anything at all 
about specific gravity ; but as they probably manage the altera- 
tion quite unconsciously, just as we ourselves move our limbs 
without ever for a moment reflecting that we are pulling on the 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 187 

flexor or extensor muscles, this objection may fairly be left un- 
answered. 

The way in which Nature has worked in depriving the sole of 
a swim bladder is no doubt the simple and popular one of natural 
selection ; in other words, she has managed it by the soles with 
swim bladders being always promptly devoured. Originally, we 
may well suppose, the ancestral sole, before he began to be a 
sole at all (if I may be permitted that frank Hibernicism), pos- 
sessed this useful aerostatic organ just like all other kinds of 
fishes. But when once he took to lurking on the bottom, 
and trying to pass himself off as merely a bit of the surrounding 
sandbank, the article in question would obviously be disadvan- 
tageous to him under his altered circumstances. A bit of the 
sandbank which elevates itself vertically in the water on a couple 
of side fins is sure to attract the unfavourable attention of the 
neighbouring dog-fish, who love soles like human epicures. 
Accordingly, every aspiring sole that ever sought to rise in the 
world with undue levity was sure to be snapped up by a passing 
foe, who thus effectually prevented it from passing on its own 
peculiar aspirations and swim bladder to future generations. On 
the other hand, the unaspiring soles that hugged the bottom and 
were content to flounder along contentedly sideways, instead of 
assuming the perpendicular, for the sake of appearances, at the 
peril of their lives, lived and flourished to a good old age, and 
left many successive relays of spawn to continue their kind in 
later ages. The swim bladder would thus gradually atrophy from 
disuse, just as always happens in the long-run with practically 
functionless and obsolete organs. The modern sole bears about 
perpetually in his own person the mark of his unenergetic and 
sluggish ancestry. 

At the same time that the young sole, setting up in life on his 
own account, begins to lie on his left side only, and acquires his 
adult obliquity of vision, another singular and closely correlated 
change begins to affect his personal appearance. He started in 
life, you will remember, as a transparent body ; and this trans- 
parency is commonly found in a great many of the earliest and 
lowest vertebrate organisms. Professor Kay Lankester, indeed, 
who is certainly far enough from being a fanciful or imaginative 
person, has shown some grounds for believing that our earliest 
recognisable ancestor, the primitive vertebrate, now best repre- 
sented by that queer little mud fish, the lancelet, as well as by 

92 



188 SOLES AND TURBOT. 

the too-famous and much-abused ascidian larva, was himself 
perfectly translucent. One result of this ancient transparency we 
still carry about with us in our own organisation. The eye of 
man and of other higher animals, instead of being a modification 
of the skin (as is the case with the organ of vision in inverte- 
brates generally), consists essentially of a sort of bag or projection 
from the brain, turned inside out like the finger of a glove, and 
made by a very irregular arrangement to reach at last the outside 
of the face. In the act of being formed, the human eye in fact 
buds out from the body of the brain, and gradually elongates 
itself upon a sort of stalk or handle, afterwards known as the 
optic nerve. Professor Lankester suggests, as a probable explana- 
tion of this quaint and apparently rather round-about arrange- 
ment, that our primitive ancestor was as clear as glass, and had 
his eye inside his brain, as is still the case with the ascidian larva. 
As soon as his descendants began to grow opaque, the eye was 
forced to push itself outward, so as to reach the surface of the 
body ; and thus at last, we may imagine, it came to occupy its 
present prominent position on the full front of all vertebrate 
animals. 

To return to our sole, however, whom I have left too long 
waiting in the sand, to undergo his next transformation : as soon 
as he has selected a side on which to lie, he begins to grow dark, 
and a pigmentary matter forms itself on the upper surface, 
exposed to the light. This is a very common effect of exposure, 
sufficiently familiar to ladies and others, and therefore hardly 
calling for deliberate explanation. But the particular form which 
the colouring takes in the true sole and in various other kinds of 
flat-fish is very characteristic, and its origin is one of the most 
interesting illustrations of natural selection to be found within 
the whole range of animated nature. In every case, it exactly 
resembles the coloration of the ground on which the particular 
species habitually reposes. For example, the edible sole lies 
always on sandy banks, and the spots upon its surface are so 
precisely similar to the sand around it that in an aquarium, even 
when you actually know from the label that there is a sole to be 
found in a particular tank, you can hardly ever manage to spot 
him, as long as he lies perfectly quiet on the uniform bottom. 
Turbot, on the other hand, which prefers a more irregular pebbly 
bed, is darker brown in colour, and has the body covered on its 
upper side with little bony tubercles, which closely simulate the 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 189 

uneven surface of the banks on which it basks. The plaice, again, 
a lover of open stony spots, where small shingle of various sorts is 
collected together in variegated masses, has its top side beautifully 
dappled with orange-red spots, which assimilate it in hue to the 
parti-coloured ledges whereon it rests. In this last case the 
brighter dabs of colour undoubtedly represent the bits of carnelian 
and other brilliant pebbles, whose tints of course are far more 
distinct when seen in water by refracted light than when looked 
at dry in the white and common daylight. We all know how 
much prettier pebbles always seem when picked up wet on the 
sea-shore than under any other circumstances. 

Some few flat-fish even possess the chameleon power of alter- 
ing their colour, in accordance with the nature of the bottom on 
which they are lying. The change is managed by pressing out- 
ward or inward certain layers of pigment cells, whose combination 
produces the desired hues. 

The origin of this protective coloration must once more be 
set down to that deus ex machina of modern biology, natural 
selection. In the beginning, those flat-fish which happened to be 
more or less spotted and speckled would be most likely to escape 
the notice of their ever-watchful and rapacious foes ; while those 
which were uniformly coloured brown or grey, and still more those 
which were actually black or light pink, would be at once spotted, 
snapped up, and devoured. Hence in every generation the ever- 
surviving sole or turbot was the one whose spots happened most 
closely to harmonise with the general coloration of the surround- 
ing bottom. As these survivors would alone intermarry and bring 
up future families of like-minded habits, it would naturally result 
that the coloration would become fixed and settled as a here- 
ditary type in each particular species. Meanwhile, the eyes of 
the enemies of flat-fish, ever on the look-out for a nice juicy plaice 
or flounder, would become educated by experience, and would 
grow sharper and ever sharper in detecting the flimsy pretences 
of insufficiently imitative or irregularly coloured individuals. 
Natural selection means in this case selection by the hungry jaws 
of starving dog-fish. When once the intelligent dog-fish has 
learnt to appreciate the fact that all is not sand that looks sandy, 
you may be sure he exercises a most vigilant superintendence 
over every bank he happens to come upon. None but the most 
absolutely indistinguishable soles are at all likely to escape his 
interested scrutiny. 



190 SOLES AND TURBOTV 

The mere nature of the bottom upon which they lie has thus 
helped to become a differentiating agency for the various species 
and varieties of flat-fish. Soles, which easily enough avoid 
detection on the sandy flats, would soon be spotted and extermi- 
nated among the pebbly ridges beloved of plaice, or the shingly 
ledge especially affected by the rough-knobbed turbot. Flounders, 
whose colouring exactly adapts them to the soft ooze and shallow 
mud-banks at the mouths of rivers, would prove quite out of place 
on the deep pools in the Channel, covered with pale yellow sand, 
where the pretty lemon sole is most at home. In the case of the 
true sole, too, the long, graceful, sinuous fringe of fins is so 
arranged that it can fit accurately to the surface on which the fish 
is lying, and so add in a great measure to the appearance of con- 
tinuity with the neighbouring sands. A sole, settling down on a 
ribbed patch of sand, can thus accommodate its shape to the 
underlying undulations, so that it is almost impossible to distin- 
guish its outline, even when you know exactly where to look for 
it. Soles are very clever at choosing such deceptive hiding-places, 
and very seldom openly expose themselves on a flat horizontal 
surface. Moreover, whenever they settle, they take care partially 
to bury themselves in the sand, with a curious sidelong flapping 
motion, and so still more effectually screen themselves from 
intending observers. 

I may note in passing that such correspondence in colour with 
the general hue of the surrounding medium is especially common 
wherever a single tone predominates largely in the wider aspect 
of nature. Arctic animals, as everybody knows, are always white. 
Ptarmigan and northern hares put on a snowy coat among the 
snows of winter. The uncommercial stoat needlessly transforms 
himself on the approach of cold weather into the expensive and 
much-persecuted ermine. Imagine for a moment the chances of 
life possessed by a bright scarlet animal among the snowfields of 
Greenland, and one can see at once the absolute necessity for 
this unvarying protective coloration. Even a royal duke would 
scarcely venture to approve of flaring red uniforms under such 
conditions. All the conspicuous creatures get immediately weeded 
out by their carnivorous enemies, owing to their too great obtru- 
siveness and loudness of dress ; while those alone survive which 
exactly conform to the fashionable whiteness of external nature. 
So, too, in the desert every bird, lizard, grasshopper, butterfly, and 
cricket is uniformly dressed in light sand-colour. The intrusive 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 191 

red or blue butterfly from neighbouring flowery fields gets promptly 
eaten up by the local bird, whose plumage he cannot distinguish 
from the sand around it. The intrusive scarlet or green bird from 
neighbouring forests finds the bread taken out of his mouth by 
the too severe competition of his desert brethren, who can steal 
upon the native grasshoppers unperceived, while he himself acts 
upon them like a red danger-signal, and is as sedulously avoided 
by the invisible insects as if he meant intentionally to advertise in 
flaming posters his own hostile and destructive purpose. 

In shortj sand-haunting creatures are and always must be 
necessarily sand-coloured. 

A few tropical flat-fish, however, living as they do among the 
brilliant corals, pink sea-anemones, gorgeous holothurians, and 
banded shells of the Southern seas, are beautifully and vividly 
spotted and coloured with the liveliest patterns. In this case the 
necessity for protection compels the fish to adopt the exactly 
opposite tactics. All those young beginners which happen to 
show any tendency to plain brown colouring are sure to be recog- 
nised as fish, and get promptly eaten up among their bright sur- 
roundings ; only those which look most like the neighbouring 
inedible and stinging nondescripts stand any chance of escaping 
with their precious lives. A Quaker garb which would easily pass 
unobserved in the murky English Channel would become at once 
conspicuous by contrast among the brilliant organisms of Amboyna 
or Tahiti. This beautifully proves the relativity of all things, as 
philosophers put it. Ordinary people express the same idea in 
simpler language by saying that circumstances alter cases. 

Most of our English flat-fish lie consistently on one side, and 
that the left ; they keep their right eye always uppermost. But 
the turbot and the brill reverse this arrangement, having the left 
side on top and coloured, while the right side is below and white. 
Two other fish, known as the fluke and the megrim, but not received 
in polite society, follow the example of their fashionable friends in 
this respect. But in no case are these habits perfectly ingrained ; 
now and then one meets with a left-sided sole or a right-sided 
.turbot, which looks as though a great deal were left to the mere 
taste and fancy of the individual flat-fish. Some have taken to 
lying most frequently on one side and some on the other ; but it 
is interesting to note that when a normally right-sided individual 
has happened to lie with his left side uppermost that side becomes 
coloured and distorted exactly the same as in his more correct 



192 SOLES AND TURBOT. 

brethren. This shows how purely acquired the whole habit must 
be. It points back clearly to the days when flat-fish were still 
merely a sort of cod, and suggests that their transformation into 
the unsymmetrical condition is merely a matter of deliberate 
choice on their own part. Indeed there seems good reason to 
believe that many young flat-fish never undergo this change at all, 
but swimming about freely in the open sea assume that peculiarly 
elongated and strange form known as the leptocephalic. 

I don't mean to say that all leptocephali are originally the 
offspring of flat-fishes, but some probably are; and so a word 
or two about these monstrous oceanic idiots and imbeciles may 
not here be out of place. 

Lolling about lazily in the open ocean a number of small, long, 
ribbon-like fish are frequently found, quite transparent and glassy 
in appearance, with no head at all to speak of, but furnished with 
a pair of big eyes close beside the tiny snout. They are languid, 
boneless, wormlike creatures, very gelatinous in substance, and 
looking much like pellucid eels without the skin on. For a long 
time these leptocephali (as they are called) were supposed to be a 
peculiar class of fishes, but they are now known to be young fry 
of various shore-haunting kinds, which have drifted out into the 
open ocean, and had their development permanently arrested for 
want of the natural environment. They are in fact fish idiots, 
and though they grow in size they never attain real maturity. If, 
as some authorities believe, many of these queer idiotic forms 
really represent stray flat-fish, then their symmetrical development 
once more points back to the happy days when the ancestral sole 
still swam upright, with one eye on each side of his head, instead 
of being distorted into a sort of aggravated squinter. 

Besides the ' reversed ' specimens of soles and turbots right- 
sided when they ought to be left-sided, and vice versa occasional 
double or ambidextrous individuals occur, in which the dark colour 
is equally developed on both sides of the body. Whether these 
impartial flat-fish are in the habit of turning over in their beds 
whether they represent the uneasy sleepers of pleuronectid circles 
or otherwise I am not in a position to state ; but probably they 
are produced under circumstances where both sides have been 
frequently exposed to the action of light, which seems to have a 
sort of photographic effect upon the pigments of the fish's body. 
Everybody knows in fact that the upper side or back of most 
ordinary fish, exposed as it is to the sunlight, is darker than the 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 193 

lower side or belly ; and this natural result of the solar rays has 
indirectly a protective effect, because when you look down into 
the water from above it appears dark, whereas when you look up 
from below the surface appears bright and shining ; so that a fish 
is less_Jikely to be observed (and eaten) if his back is dark and 
his under surface white and silvery. 

Albino soles are far rarer than doubles, and seldom occur except 
in very young and foolish specimens. Naturally an albino forms 
an exceptionally sure mark for his enemies to hawk at, and he is 
therefore usually devoured at an early stage of his unhappy 
existence, before he has time to develop properly into a good speci- 
men. For the same reason adult white rabbits are very rare in the 
wild state, because they form such excellent targets for owls in 
their early infancy. Eabbits, when tamed, as we all know, tend 
to ' sport ' in colour to a surprising extent ; but this tendency is 
repressed in the wild condition by the selective action of the 
common owl, which promptly picks off every rabbit that doesn't 
harmonise well in the dusk of evening with the bracken and furze 
among whose stalks it feeds. 

All the flat-fish are carnivorous. They live chiefly off cockles 
and other mollusks, off lugs and lobworms, or off small shrimp- 
like creatures and other crustaceans. In summer time soles resort 
to banks and shallow spots near the mouths of rivers to deposit 
their spawn. They are obliged to do this in shallow waters, 
because, like most other fish, they are very unnatural mothers, and 
leave the sun to do the whole work of hatching for them. To be 
sure there are some few right-minded fish which take a proper 
view of their parental responsibilities, such as the pipe-fishes, 
which carry about their unhatched eggs in a bag, sometimes borne 
by the affectionate mother, but oftener still by the good father, a 
perfect model to his human confreres. Or again, the familiar 
little stickleback, who builds a regular nest for the reception of 
the spawn, and positively sits upon it like a hen, at the same time 
waving his fins vigorously backwards and forwards so as to keep 
up a good supply of oxygen. But soles and most other fish con- 
sider that their parental duties are quite at an end as soon as they 
have deposited their spawn in safety on a convenient sunny 
shallow. 

This fact produces a sort of annual migration among the soles 
and other flat-fish. In spring, when all nature is beginning to 
wake again from its winter sleep, the soles seek the shoal water, 

95 



194 SOLES AND TURBOT. 

which forms their spawning ground ; and, therefore, in April, 
May, June, and July, the British sole is chiefly trawled for off 
the Dogger Bank and the other great submerged flats of the North 
Sea. But when November comes on again the soles once more 
retire for the season into winter quarters in the deep water for the 
purpose of hibernating during the foodless period. The North 
Sea soles (in whose habits and manners the London public is most 
profoundly interested) generally resort for their long snooze to a 
deep depression known as the Silver Pits, lying close beside the 
Dogger Bank. These Silver Pits are so called because when they 
were first discovered (about the year 1843) they formed a sort of 
Big Bonanza for the lucky fisTiermen who originally resorted to 
them. There the soles lay, huddled together for the sake of 
warmth, like herrings in a barrel, thousands and thousands of 
them, one on top of the other, a solid mass of living and sleeping 
solehood, only waiting for the adventurous fisherman to pull them 
up and take them to market. Man, treacherous man, crept upon 
their peaceful slumber unawares, and proceeded, like Macbeth, to 
murder sleep wholesale in the most unjustifiable and relentless 
manner. He dropped his lines into the Silver Pits the water 
there is too deep for dredging and hauled up the hapless drowsy 
creatures literally by the thousand till he had half exhausted the 
accumulated progeny of ages. The Silver Pits are still excellent 
winter fishing grounds, but never again will they yield such 
immense fortunes as they did at the moment of their first 
exploration. 

In 1848, when the Californian gold fever was at its very 
height, some other lucky smack-owners hit upon a second deposit 
of solid soles, lying in layers on a small tract of coarse bottom near 
Flamborough Head, where they retired to hibernate, perhaps, in 
consequence of the hard treatment they had received in the Silver 
Pits. This new Eldorado of the fishing industry was appropriately 
nick-named California, because it proved for the time being a 
very mine of gold to its fortunate discoverers. But, like the pro- 
totypal California on the Pacific coast, its natural wealth was soon 
exhausted; and though it still yields a fair proportion of fish, its 
golden days are now fairly over. 

Driven from the banks and pits by their incessant enemy, the 
trawler, the poor soles have now taken to depositing their spawn 
on the rough, rocky ground where the fishermen dare not follow 
them for fear of breaking their nets against the jagged ledges. 



SOLES AND TURBOT. 195 

These rocky spots are known as sanctuaries, and if it were not for 
them it is highly probable that sole au gratin would soon become 
an extinct animal on our London dinner tables. Even to the 
sanctuaries, however, they are rudely followed, as Professor Huxley 
has shown, by their hereditary fishy foes, who eat the spawn, and 
so deprive the world of myriads upon myriads of unborn soles, 
consigned before their time to dull oblivion. Formerly, fishermen 
used to throw away these useless fish when caught ; in future, they 
have strict orders from the inspectors of fisheries to kill them all 
wherever found. 

However, even the remnant left by all enemies put together 
is quite sufficient to repeople the waters with a pleuronectid 
population with extraordinary rapidity. The fecundity of fish is 
indeed something almost incredible. The eggs of soles are ex- 
tremely small not so big as a grain of mustard seed and the roe 
of a one-pound fish usually contains as many as 134,000 of them. 
Turbot are even more surprisingly prolific : Frank Buckland was 
acquainted with one whose roe weighed 5 Ibs. 9 oz., and contained 
no less than fourteen million and odd eggs. It is a sad reflection 
that not more than one of these, on an average, ever lives to reach 
maturity. For if only two survived in each case the number of 
turbot in the sea next year would be double what it is this ; the 
year after that there would be four times as many ; the next 
year eight times again ; and so on in a regular arithmetical pro- 
gression. In a very few decades the whole sea would become one 
living mass of solid turbot. As a matter of fact, since the number 
of individuals in any given species remains on the average exactly 
constant, we may lay it down as a general rule that only two 
young usually survive to maturity out of all those born or laid 
by a single pair of parents. All the rest are simply produced in 
order to provide for the necessary loss in infant mortality. The 
turbot lays fourteen million eggs, well knowing that thirteen 
million nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred 
and ninety-nine will be eaten up in the state of spawn or devoured 
by enemies in helpless infancy, or drifted out to sea and hopelessly 
lost, or otherwise somehow unaccounted for. The fewer the casual- 
ties to which a race is exposed the smaller the number of eggs or 
young which it needs to produce in order to cover the necessary 
losses. 

In fish generally it takes at least a hundred thousand eggs 
each year to keep up the average of the species. In frogs and 



196 SOLES AND TURBOT. 

other amphibians, a few hundred are amply sufficient. Reptiles 
often lay only a much smaller number. In birds, which hatch 
their own eggs and feed their young, from ten to two eggs per 
annum are quite sufficient to replenish the earth. Among mam- 
mals, three or four at a birth is a rare number, and many of the 
larger sorts produce one calf or foal at a time only. In the human 
race at large, a total of five or six children for each married couple 
during a whole lifetime makes up sufficiently for infant mortality 
and all other sources of loss, though among utter savages a far 
higher rate is usually necessary. In England, an average of four 
and a half children to each family suffices to keep the population 
stationary ; above that number it begins to increase, and has to 
find an outlet in emigration. If every family had four children, 
and every child grew up to maturity and married, the population 
would exactly double in every generation. Even making allow- 
ances for necessary deaths and celibacy, however, I believe that as 
sanitation improves and needless infant mortality is done away 
with, the human race will finally come to a state of equilibrium 
with an average of three children to each household. But this is 
getting very far away indeed from the habits of flat-fishes. 



197 



COURT ROYAL. 

A STORY OF CROSS CURRENTS. 
BY THE AUTHOR OP ' JOHN HERRING,' ' MEHALAH,' ETC. 

CHAPTER XLI. 

AN ENTANGLEMENT. 

WHEN Charles Cheek came next evening to see his father, he 
found the old man in a condition of excitement such as made his 
heart sink, and despair of extracting money from him. He came 
at his father's dinner-time, knowing the impossibility of getting a 
conversation with him during business hours. 

* Are you unwell, father ? ' he asked, when he observed the 
perturbed condition of the old man. 

* Unwell ? Cause to be so.' 

* What is the matter with you ? ' 

* Matter ? Everything.' 

* Any annoyance lately ? ' 

* Annoyance ? Ugh ! ' 

What was it that troubled the old man ? During dinner he 
would hardly speak. His pasfcy face exuded a gloss. He growled, 
and cast furtive glances at his son, which Charles caught, and was 
unable to interpret. 

'Was Mr. Worthivale here yesterday, governor?' 

' Worthivale ? Yes. Has a son, never gave him an hour's 
uneasiness. Came crowing and flapping here because he has a 
good son.' 

' Do you mean, father, that that ' 

That that ! Yes. Ugh ! ' 

It was impossible to extract anything from the old man during 
the meal. Charles put on a gay manner, and talked of the 
weather, of politics, of the regiments ordered abroad, of the de- 
pression, of the gossip of society, the improvements effected in 
torpedoes, Devonshire cream, the Prince of Wales, butterine, 



198 COURT ROYAL. 

Nihilism, Eobert Browning, anything, everything that came into 
his head, but without provoking his father to take part in the 
conversation. 

As soon, however, as the dessert was on the table the same 
dessert as the day before the father drew the dish of raisins and 
almonds over to himself, waved the servants to withdraw, and 
burst forth with, ' So so clapping the cross on top of St. Paul's ! 
brought your folly to a climax at last. Ugh ! ' 

' What have I done ? ' asked Charles, as his spirit quaked at 
his father's anger, and his consciousness of having deserved it. 
i I know I am not as clever as you are, governor, but you have 
put matters more forcibly than pleasantly.' 

4 What have you done ? Look at this ! Ugh ! ' 

The old man flung a note across the table at him, then made 
a grab at the almonds, filled his hand, and began to eat them 
ravenously. 

Charles took a letter out of the envelope, unfolded it leisurely, 
and proceeded to read. He expected to find that his tailor or 
wine merchant had appealed to his father for payment of a long- 
standing account. What he saw made the colour rush to his 
face, and turn him scarlet to the roots of his hair. He glanced 
up, and saw that his father had riveted his dark piercing eyes on 
him, whilst he ate savagely almond after almond. The letter was 
as follows : 

' Honoured and monokeratic Sir, I take my pen in hand, 
hoping that this finds you as it leaves me. Sir, I feel that I 
can have no peace of mind till I make you acquainted with our 
engagement, that is, the engagement of me and Charlie, and 
ask your blessing on our approaching union. When Charlie 
told me he wished I was his wife, you might have knocked me 
down with a feather, I was that taken aback. I could do no 
other than give consent, seeing he had behaved so handsome 
to me, in giving me a necklace of pearls and a beautiful rose- 
coloured silk gown (which, I am grieved to say, through no fault 
of mine, has since been injured by Ems water). Charlie and I 
have been cabineted together, holding hands as agreed and 
acknowledged lovers, and we only await your blessing, honoured 
and monokeratic sir, to become the happiest of couples. Charlie 
has gone up to town to break the news to you, and to solicit 
your approval. He will tell you of our long attachment, and 



COURT ROYAL. 199 

assure you -of my best intentions to love and honour you as a 
daughter, the which (in prospective) I beg to subscribe myself, 

' JOANNA KOSEVERE. 

' C/o Mr. Lazarus, 

' The Golden Balls, 

' Barbican. 

' P.S. I will send you our united cabinet as soon as the proof 
comes, which I trust will be to-morrow.' 

Charles Cheek's first sensation was amazement ; then he felt 
disposed to laugh. The letter was so droll, so impertinent, and 
so inferior in style to what he expected from Joe. But all incli- 
nation to laugh was taken from him by his father's countenance. 
The old man was simmering with anger and apprehension. 

' Thought so ! ' burst forth Mr. Cheek as he stretched his arms 
so suddenly and violently as to knock over one of the wine-glasses. 
' I always feared it would come to this. I hoped against hope. I 
did trust you would be preserved by Providence from plunging 
into such an abyss of imbecility.' 

4 My dear father, you take this too seriously.' 

' Take it too seriously ! ' echoed the old man. * What is more 
serious than marriage ? ' 

* But, my dear governor ! ' 

* Don't governor me. I'm your father, I presume, though God 
forgive me for begetting such an ass.' 

The young man was hurt and incensed. His father loved 
him, but he was rough with him, and had no self-restraint when 
angered. He spoke coarsely, brutally, all the coarse and brutal 
things that came off his heart, which is never done by those who 
have been put through the mill of culture. 

How much the old man loved him, how proud he was of him 
in spite of his weakness, in spite of the disappointment his pride 
had encountered, this Charles did not know. Mr. Cheek made no 
show of affection ; or he showed it by licking his cub with a very 
rough tongue, so rough as to flay him. 

Well ! ' shouted the old man, well ! ' 

* The letter is preposterous,' said Charlie, sulkily. 

* Preposterous ! What I find preposterous is not the letter, 
but the conduct that provoked the letter.' 

* It is not true it is a hoax,^ said the young man. 

' Not true ! ' repeated the old man. He had eaten all the 



200 COURT ROYAL. 

almonds ; now he took a bunch of raisins, put it in his mouth, 
and passionately tore off the fruit with one nip of his teeth, and 
put the spray on his plate. When he had gulped down the raisins 
he said, ' Not true ! oh no. Cap imbecility with falsehood. Now 
deny everything. I thought I had a son who was a fool ; don't 
convince me that he is a liar and a coward as well.' 

The young man stood up. He turned pale. * You are my 
father,' he said, ' and have some privilege of language ; but this 
exceeds what I will endure. I had rather break stones on the 
road than submit to such insults.' 

* Eejoice to see you break stones do any useful work. At 
present breaking your father's heart.' 

The old man's voice shook. 

Charles was moved. * My dear father,' he said, * let me 
explain.' 

4 Explain ! What can you explain ? ' 
' The letter is not serious.' 

* Reads deuced like a serious letter.' Mr. Cheek had no sense 
of humour. What touched his son as comical in the epistle ap- 
peared to him sober earnestness. ' Answer me a few plain questions, 
Charles ; set my mind at rest, or confirm my worst anticipations. 
Give me the letter.' 

The old tradesman took the note and spread it before him, 
then deliberately put on his spectacles and read the letter over to 
himself, marking the points with his silver dessert knife. 

* Who is Joanna Rosevere ? ' 

* She is a girl I got to know something about j a nice enough 
sort of a girl, with plenty of brains ' 

' That will do. I asked who was Joanna Rosevere. You say 

a girl. Enough. Now I know she is not a widow. I want none 

of your lover's raptures.' 

' I am not aware that there were any raptures.' 

4 That will do. I require answers short and to the point. 

Now, further, is it true that you gave her a pearl necklace and 

a rose-coloured silk dress ? ' 

* Yes, I did ; the pearls were Roman, and the dress ' 

* That will do. You gave this girl a necklace of Roman pearls 
and a rose-coloured silk gown. Did you further have yourself 
photographed I beg pardon, cabineted hand-in-hand with 
her?' 

* Yes, father. The fact is that that ' Then the recollection 



COURT ROYAL. 201 

of the snail and the bet rushed on his mind, he blushed and did 
not finish his sentence. 

( Very well or rather, very ill. You were photographed 
to be exact, cabineted with the girl, hand-in-hand ; I presume I 
take her right, she don't swear you were closeted with her.' 

4 Well, I was taken with her. I thought -' 

* Never mind what you thought. I want facts, not fancies. 
Hand-in-hand, cabinet size. I want to know further, did you, 
as she says, tell her you wished her to be your wife ? ' 

'It came about like this. The other evening when I was 
there ' 

* I am not asking the time of day, nor the circumstances. I 
ask only, is this a fact ? ' 

* I did say that I wished it were possible for me to make her 
Mrs. Charles Cheek, or words to that effect. I don't recollect the 
exact expression.' 

' Very well. You asked her to be Mrs. Charles Cheek, but 
the exact words in which you couched your proposal you do not 
recollect.' 

' It was not a proposal.' 

* Not a proposal ! ' repeated the father. ' Then what am I to 
conclude from the present of the necklace of Roman pearls and 
the rose-coloured silk dress, and the cabinet-sized photograph 
of yourselves clasping each other's hands ? Will you illumine 
my mind, and tell me, do young gentlemen and young women 
get carted, and closeted, and cabineted, hand-in-hand, unless 
engaged ? ' 

' There is no engagement,' protested Charles, bewildered and 
angry. 

' No engagement ! You dare to say that. Don't repeat it, as 
you desire to retain a particle of my regard. I ask, further, what 
is this Joanna ? I know she is a girl. In what capacity is she 
at the Grolden Balls with Mr. Lazarus, whom I happen to 
know ? ' 

'She is maid of all work to the old Jew pawnbroker,' answered 
the young man, driven to desperation, and regardless what he 
admitted. 

* Maid of all work to a Jew pawnbroker,' repeated his father. 
* I ask beside, whence comes she ? Is she a Jewess ? ' 

' No, she is not.' 

' Whence comes she ? ' 



202 COURT ROYAL. 

* Picked out of the r mud, and pawned for ten shillings,' ex- 
claimed Charles Cheek in a paroxysm of exasperation. 

' Picked out of the mud. What mud ? ' 

The mud of Sutton Pool.' 

' Pawned for ten shillings. By whom ? ' 

' By her mother.' 

' And this is the creature you are going to take to you as 
wife ! ' exclaimed the old man, with repressed anger, his face livid 
and syrupy with emotion. ' With a creature such as this you 
will squander my hard-earned wealth ! ' 

1 1 tell you, father, it is a hoax.' 

' Don't tell me that.' Mis Cheek brought his great fist down 
on the table with a crash that made the decanters leap and the 
glasses spin. * Now, sir, do you mean to marry her ? If you do, 
I cast you off utterly and for ever.' 

' No, I don't want to do that. I tell you the letter is a hoax. 
Read it you can see by the style that it is.' 

* I have read it. I can see as well as you. I am not to be 
hoodwinked, and to be told that red is green, and the moon is 
cheese, and believe it. I have listened patiently to your explana- 
tion. You have so compromised yourself with this girl, on your 
own admission, that if you fail, you render yourself actionable for 
breach of promise.' 

'There was no promise,' persisted the young man. 

' Is a jury likely to believe that, when they have heard of the 
pearls and the rose silk, and seen the billing and cooing doves in 
the cabinet ? I tell you they will assess the damages at a thou- 
sand pounds.' 

' There was no agreement. It is a mistake. I can't think 
what Joanna was at writing such a letter.' 

* Do you want to marry her ? ' asked his father. 

' No, of course not. I never did. I only said something about 
making her Mrs. Charles Cheek in joke.' 

' The joke is likely to be expensive pleasantry. But it was 
no joke. You neither of you regarded it as joke, or you would 
not have been photographed together. Now you come to me to 
get you out of this predicament. I won't have the scandal of a 
case of breach of promise in the papers. It might affect my 
business. We must come to an accommodation. How old is the 
girl?' 

' Seventeen or eighteen.' 



COURT ROYAL. 203 

( Has she relations to advise her ? ' 

' Not one.' 

' There is, however, that fox, Lazarus.' 

' She will never consult him.' 

' What will she take to let you off? I dare say if I go down 
with a hundred pounds in my pocket, and offer it her with one 
hand, and a written renunciation of you in the other, before she 
has had time to consider and ask advice, she will sign, and set 
you free.' He looked questioningly at his son. 

A change had come over Charles's face. A light had sprung 
up before him. He leaned back in his chair, and burst into a fit 
of laughter. 

'It is no laughing matter,' said the elder Cheek, grimly. 
* This may cost us a thousand. Juries estimate damages by the 
income of the father-in-law. Deuced lucky you will be if I can 
clear you for a hundred. You know the girl : will she take a 
hundred ? ' 

' I am sure she will. Give me the money, and let me go down 
to Plymouth and settle it with her.' 

' No,' answered the father, ' you are too weak. The job must be 
done by me at once. Let me see to-morrow : impossible, engaged. 
Must make arrangements. Day after, yes ; and, Charles, you 
go to Mr. Worthivale at Kingsbridge for a month, or better, six 
weeks, to be out of the way. He comes here to dinner to-morrow, 
when I will settle with him. Go.' 

When Charles Cheek got into the street he exploded into 
laughter. ' The little rogue ! ' he exclaimed. ' Who ever would 
have thought it? The hundred pounds she promised she gets 
out of my father. She has cost me a bad quarter of an hour, 
though.' 

CHAPTER XLII. 

NIBBLING. 

NEXT evening, punctually at seven, Mr. Worthivale arrived. To 
honour his presence, two additional dishes were added to the 
dessert one of dried figs, the other of preserved ginger. Also a 
bottle of claret was decanted. Mr. Cheek had not settled down 
into his usual composure ; his excitement made him more talkative 
than usual, and induced him to fill out his sentences, and not pre- 
sent them in a somewhat less truncated shape. His talkative- 



204 COURT ROYAL. 

ness, however, did not manifest itself until after the servants had 
withdrawn. Then his reserve gave way. He pulled an envelope 
out of his pocket and threw it to his guest. 

* Look at that, Worthivale ! Grot it this morning. Charles 
has made a fool of himself. Grot entangled with a wench dredged 
from the social depths. Engaged! Cost something to set him 
free. However ' he rattled his pocket ' I'm not like one of 
your dukes ; I've money in my own pocket when there's need. I 
haven't to go cap in hand to others.' 

The steward winced. Then he said, studying the photograph, 
' I am sure I know that face. It is familiar to me. Where can I 
have seen it ? ' 

' Of course. That is Charlie.' 

'Yes; but the other the girl? She it must be, yet I can 
hardly believe it it must be our servant, Joanna ! ' 

' Joanna is her name.' 

'The maid left us under somewhat unsatisfactory circum- 
stances altogether puzzling.' 

' That I can well believe.' 

' She had been before with a Mrs. Delany.' 

* She is now with a Jew pawnbroker, as maid of all work.' 

' This must be broken off,' said Mr. Worthivale. ' I never 
quite made out the why and wherefore of her leaving my house. 
She ran away.' 

' I am going to buy her off,' answered Mr. Cheek ; ' but what 
comfort is that to me, when my boy may be committing a similar 
folly again to-morrow ? ' 

Mr. Worthivale was still considering the photograph. 

* Her face is striking,' he said, ' and .slie has eyes that sparkle ; 
they are perfectly effervescing with intelligence. Beavis took 
against her ; he suspected her from the outset, but I cannot say 
why. This is a very odd story. Your son's acquaintance with 
her must be short. She left us at Christmas. She was clever, 
but unable to read and write.' 

' She wrote me a letter. I have it in my pocket here it is. 
Almost ashamed, however, to let you see it.' 

Mr. Worthivale looked at the letter. ' I know about the pink 
silk dress,' he said. ' She had it when she came to us. It was 
spoiled, as she describes in this letter, by some mineral water 
getting spilled over it. The Roman pearls also yes. She sent 
them to Lady Gfrace Eveleigh after her disappearance. Lucy told 



COURT ROYAL. 205 

me of it. They came with a letter, but I supposed she had got 
some one to write it for her. The girl is not lost to good ; she 
showed great respect and attachment to her ladyship. Perhaps 
this letter was written for her ; and yet ' he mused, i yet there 
were some odd circumstances about her departure which made 
Beavis think her ignorance simulated.' 

' Did she steal anything from your house ? ' 
( No, I cannot say we missed money or plate ; in fact, nothing. 
No, I cannot charge her with that.' 

' Sorry for that,' said old Cheek. ' It would have made my 
course easier. Police case then.' 

' Your son must in no case marry such a person,' said the 
steward, gravely. ' It would be an ugly scandal.' 

' He shall not. I buy her off. Allow the boy to visit you 
for a month or so till this affair is blown over.' 

( Certainly. I will bring him into good society. The company 
of Beavis will be profitable. I may find means of introducing him 
to the Marquis and Lord Konald. There are nice people in our 
neighbourhood. There are the Sheepwashes some fine girls, much 
admired, and of good family. Who can tell ? Charles may form 
an attachment for one of them, and so get his foot into society. 
They have not much of their own except blood, and that is just 
what you require.' 

' Nothing would please me better.' 

' Yes, we must get Charles into good society, and then he will 
lose the taste for low associations.' 

' The boy has his points,' said Mr. Cheek. * Can't help loving 
him. Admire his gentlemanly ways. Grot them from his mother. 
Your family have always heen gentlefolks.' 

' Yes ; we were squires once, in Cornwall, but lost our property 
in the usual way, and went down into business.' 

Then Mr. Worthivale turned the conversation to the Kings- 
bridge estates, and the advantages of lending money on them. 
He admitted that the Duke was in want of a few thousands, but 
then the investment was so secure. Turkish Government, Egyptian 
Khedives, Argentine Kepublics borrowed and could not pay. They 
were broken reeds, but an English duke was a pillar of strength. 
It would not be a bad excuse for introducing Charles to the family, 
if his father was inclined to accommodate it. At this bold propo- 
sition Mr. Cheek grew stiff, congealed, and frowned. The steward 
went on, now he had begun, unabashed, to show the great securities 



206 COURT ROYAL. 

the duke could offer, the advantages from a pecuniary point of view 
that would accrue to Mr. Cheek by thus investing his money. Mr. 
Cheek listened, and said nothing in reply one way or the other. 

' There are a couple of mortgages that have been notified 
which must be met, amounting to about fifty thousand,' he said. 
' If you would take these over, it would be a convenience to the 
family, you would have a safe investment, and you would have 
conferred on them an obligation which they would not forget.' 

' Fifty thousand ! ' said Mr. Cheek. * I have more than that 
to dispose of, thank goodness ; the Monokeratic Principle con- 
tinues to bring in a good profit annually, and I must invest what 
I make somewhere and somehew.' 

* Keally,' said the steward, ' a hundred thousand would not 
come amiss.' 

' Ah ! ' exclaimed Cheek senior, ' go on, hundred and fifty-two 
hundred two hundred and fifty ' 

' You do not hear me out. A couple of mortgages must be 
transferred or paid off. The Duke has not the ready money, and 
he would therefore wish the transfer. The one is on the manor 
of Kingsbridge, the other on the Court Koyal estate. Why, the 
house itself cost seventy thousand there is absolutely no risk.' 

( If I were to take these over, it would be merely because I 
do not see my way at present to a better investment. When I do 
see one I shall call them up. I don't care for your four and half 
and four and three quarters. If I were to take these mortgages, 
your people would be put in the same box in a few years' time 
when I wanted to release my capital.' 

' Oh, in two or three years that can be done without difficulty. 
The Duke only requires accommodation for the moment.' 

' Whence will the money come ? ' 

' Don't trouble your head about that. Money can always be 
found with such estates. Why, they bring in forty thousand per 
annum.' 

' Land can always be sold,' said Cheek. * If the money be not 
forthcoming when I want it, I will sell them up, or they must 
drop a farm or two into the market.' 

' I'll tell you what, Cheek. If it ever comes to that, try and 
secure Bigbury. That is the site for a second Torquay, climate 
warm as Penzance, and not as rainy ; looks south, scenery lovely, 
Plymouth accessible. He who has capital, and likes to spend it 



COURT ROYAL. 207 

there, can realise in no time an enormous fortune. Come, what 
do you say to my proposal ? You have a friend at court in me, 
who knows all the advantages.' 

Mr. Cheek rubbed his nose with his fork, wherewith he had 
been eating preserved ginger, and left a trickle of juice upon it. 

' I should like to see the place,' he said cautiously. 

' Come down, then.' 

Suddenly Cheek jerked forwards his arms, and said, * I will.' 

' And as I return to-morrow, I can take Charles with me, and 
get him settled in. I expect to see the agent for the mortgagee 
on the twenty-third at my place. Suppose you are there to meet 
him. Then nothing is more easy than a transfer.' 

' I go down to Plymouth to-morrow to settle this unpleasant 
matter of the girl. We can travel together.' 

' Then return by way of Kingsbridge.' 

1 Cannot. Must be in town by night express, but by Wednesday 
I'll be with you.' 

Mr. Worthivale was delighted, the fish was nibbling and nigh 
hooked. 

Neither spoke for some minutes, as each was engaged with his 
own thoughts and with drinking port. 

Presently Mr. Cheek said, as he dipped his napkin in his 
finger-glass and wiped the syrup off his nose, ' I wish you would 
tell me what was suspicious about that girl who has entangled 
Charles. If she has done anything to make her afraid of being 
found out, I might give her a scare, and bring her to an humble 
frame of mind. A knowledge of particulars will help me.' 

The steward then related the circumstances. 

' Beavis caught her making an analysis of the accounts ! ' ex- 
claimed Mr. Cheek. 4 Why, the thing is improbable on the face 
of it. What could such a girl want with it ? ' 

'Nothing, that I can see. I said so to Beavis, but Beavis 
was very positive. She had the books out, she must have searched 
my pockets to get the key, and she had her head resting on the 
extracts she had taken. When Beavis roused her, she knocked 
over the lamp, and slipped her notebook away in the dark.' 

' Did Beavis question her ? ' 

'No; she bolted.' 

Bolted at once ? ' 

' Yes ; she did not wait to be questioned.' 

* And she went ' 



208 COURT ROYAL. 

* We did not trace her. We had no idea whither she had 
betaken herself.' 

* Now you know. She is with a Jew. Probably went straight 
to him. I know the man. He is a money-lender as well as a 
pawnbroker. There was a time when he helped me. Charles 
has been in his clutches before now. A dangerous man, worth 
more than you would fancy. Has he any interest in the affairs of 
the Duke ? ' 

' None whatever.' 

' Who are the holders of the mortgages ? Have you their 
names ? Are any Jews among them ? ' 

'Yes, several.' * 

' Bad,' said Cheek. ' The Jews play into each other's hands, 
hook on to each other like the links of a fetter.' 

' You do not mean to connect the act of the girl with the 
mortgagees ? ' 

'I should not be surprised. I find no other explanation. 
Beavis thinks so, probably. She came to you pretending inability 
to read and write ? ' 

<Yes.' 

* The girl is no ordinary girl,' said Mr. Cheek, uneasily. ' I 
doubt if she will let off Charles as cheap as a hundred pounds. I 
must inquire into this matter. Must see Lazarus. Haven't seen 
or smelt him for years.' 

1 1 don't see what Lazarus has to do with the matter. The 
girl came to me from Mrs. Delany. I suppose that after leaving 
me, and having no character, she was forced to take what situation 
she could.' 

' Charles can tell us. I hear his voice in the hall. He must 
have known her before she went to you if she had the silk dress 
and beads in your house. Charles,' he said as his son entered, 
' catechising continued.' 

The young man had recovered his buoyancy. 

' By all means, father, but not in public.' 

* Want to know whether that person you were talking of with 
me yesterday has been long in present situation.' 

' All her life,' answered Charles, promptly. ' That is, since she 
was twelve years old.' 

' Was she ever in service with a Mrs. Delany ? ' 

' Wife of Colonel Delany,' explained Mr. Worthivale. 

' Not to my knowledge ; certainly not recently.' 



COURT ROYAL. 209 

' Where was she before Christmas ? ' asked the steward. 

' That I cannot say. Possibly then she may have been at the 
Colonel's, but I do not know.' 

' Where was she before that ? ' asked his father. 

' On November the fifth she was at the Barbican, where she 
had been since childhood. She was away till Christmas, and then 
returned, and has been there ever since.' 

Cheek looked at Worthivale and shook his head. 

' Sent,' he said. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

' SHARES ? ' 

TIME was money to Mr. Cheek. He did not allow the grass to 
grow under his feet. Consequently, on reaching Plymouth he 
went at once to the Golden Balls. Mr. Cheek was a clear as well 
as a hard-headed man ; he was a rapid thinker, and prompt in 
forming and acting on his decisions. He was one of those 
conquering men who conquer because dominated by self-assurance. 
He was headstrong and intolerant, because he was incapable of 
seeing from any other standpoint than his own, and of allowing 
that any other view was admissible. These are the heroes who 
have the world at their feet. What he willed he had always been 
able to carry out, because he cared for no one who opposed him. 
The public was the ass on which he had ridden ever since he 
began business. He knew perfectly its moods and maladies. He 
was indifferent to its wants, save so far as they affected him and 
helped in his business. Humbug was with him a form of advertise- 
ment a means to an end. He was not himself a humbug, he 
was even brutally straightforward, but the public demanded cant 
of the man who posed before them as a politician, a preacher, or 
a trader, and Mr. Cheek donned it. In his domestic relations he 
was truthful, honest, and direct ; in his relations with the public 
he was perfectly unscrupulous. He had a code of ethics for 
dealings within his home circle, but that home circle was limited 
now, it was contained within his waistband ; he had none at all 
for dealings outside. He was a hard man, but he had a tender 
point love for and pride in his son, a love that met with little 
response because ill-expressed, and a pride that met with rude 
shocks. He was an ambitious man. For long his ambition had 

VOL. VI. NO. 32, N.S. 1 



210 COURT ROYAL. 

been to make money. Now he was ambitious to make Charles a 
gentleman. But he did not know how to set about it. He had 
sent him, as a boy, to private schools, and, despising the classics, 
had refused to put him at an university. From dread of losing 
him from under his eye, he had opposed his going into the army ; 
now he was conscious that he had made a mistake, but too proud 
to admit it. He was angry with society for not taking up Charles 
into it. Why should it not ? Every day he heard of society 
letting down its net and drawing it up into its heaven, like the 
sheet of St. Peter's vision, full of all sorts of strange beasts. Why 
was not Charles accepted ? If society would not take up Charles, 
society must be cut down to his level. 

He entered the shop of the Golden Balls with firm tread, 
and with his usual brusque and determined manner. Joanna was 
there. Towards dusk more business was done than at other times 
of the day. One gas jet was flaring near her head, accentuating 
her features. Mr. Cheek did not care in the least whether she 
was good-looking or the reverse. He looked at her no more 
than to satisfy himself that this was the same girl who had been 
photographed with his son. 

' Your name is Joanna Rosevere,' he said. 

Joanna stood up at once, and turned the gas so as to throw 
the light full on his face, and off her own. 

* And you,' she said quietly ' you are Mr. Cheek of the 
Monokeratic Principle.' 

' I received a letter from you on the 12th instant.' 

' Which I posted on the 1 1th instant.' 

' You have not a leg to stand on,' said Mr. Cheek, roughly. 
* My son is a fool, but not such a fool as to propose to make you 
his wife. He swears he never asked you.' 

She made no reply, but stood opposite him with her hands on 
the counter, her face in shadow, studying him. 

' Now look here,' he said further : * in an amicable way I don't 
mind squaring off. If you choose to fight, I'm your man, with 
thousands at my disposal, and quite prepared to chuck away 
thousands in law. What do you say ? ' 

' Nothing.' 

* Perhaps you suppose that law in England is made for the 
purpose of redressing wrongs. No such thing. Law is made for 
the maintenance of lawyers. Justice is sold in England, and he 
with the longest purse wins ; he can appeal from court to court, 



COURT ROYAL. 211 

and ruin his adversary. You have nothing. What lawyer will 
look at you ? Now are you disposed for a compromise ? ' 

* I will take a hundred pounds.' 

* A hundred cocoa-nuts ! ' scoffed Mr. Cheek. ' Say five-and- 
twenty, and I will listen to you.' 

* I have named the sum,' answered Joanna, and reseated her- 
self, took up her sewing, and proceeded with it as if nothing had 
interrupted her. Mr. Cheek watched her thread a needle. Her 
hand did not shake. 

* You will get nothing if you refuse my offer.' 
She made no answer, but continued stitching. 

* Charles is ashamed of himself already for having even spoken 
to you. What are you ? A gutter girl.' 

* Lower than that, sir,' exclaimed Joanna, without raising her 
head. * The gutters empty into Sutton Pool, and I came out of 
the blackest mud in the bottom of the pool.' 

* Charles has not a penny of his own.' 

* He has less than a penny, sir. He is in debt.' 

* Will you give him up ? ' 

* You know my terms.' 

He stood watching her, puzzled at and admiring her self- 
possession. 

* Very well,' he said, thrusting a hundred-pound note across 
the counter with one hand, and a paper with the other. ' Sign 
this, and you shall have the money.' 

She stood up, dipped the desk pen in ink, and appended her 
signature to the renunciation of her claims. Then she reseated 
herself, having taken the bank note, with an involuntary sigh, 
folded it, and put it in her bosom. 

' So you, who could not read nor write at Mr. Worthivale's, 
can read what is penned here, and sign your name to it in a bold 
hand the same hand that wrote to me on the llth instant.' 

Joanna looked up at him in surprise. 

' I know all about it. Mr. Worthivale is a sort of relation, and 
has told me. What took you to him with forged testimonials, 
eh ? Both you and the lady who gave the character have become 
actionable. Aware of that, eh ? ' 

Joanna made no reply. 

What took you there ? ' 

* I was sent,' she answered. 

' I said so sent by Lazarus.' 

102 



212 



COURT ROYAL. 



She did not answer. 

* Why did you examine the books and make extracts from 
them ? Was that what Lazarus sent you there for, eh ? ' 

She remained silent. 

' Never mind. Always make a cat squeak by pinching its tail. 
Make you speak. Where is Lazarus ? ' 

* He is not at home, sir. He will be here directly. Take a 
chair.' 




Mr. Cheek did so. Just then, in came a woman with a Bri- 
tannia metal teapot, milk jug, and sugar bowl, which she wanted 
to dispose of. 

Mr. Cheek listened to the disputation over its value, to the 
remorseless way in which Joanna pointed out its defects, the 
way in which she flouted the poor woman when she named a 
reasonable sum as that which she demanded for them, the battle 
fought over a few pence when the shillings were settled, and the 



COURT ROYAL. 213 

ignominious rout of the seller. As he listened Mr. Cheek's in- 
terest was quickened. He looked more attentively at the girl, 
and observed her keen face and brilliant eyes. * She is no fool,' 
he said to himself. * I wish I had her in my shop. She'd be worth 
pounds to me.' 

Then in came Lazarus. Mr. Cheek gave him a nod. The 
Jew recognised him, uttered a crow of admiration, and rushed at 
him with both hands extended. Mr. Cheek at once put his hands 
under his coat-tails, and repelled Lazarus with a look. 

' A word with you,' said he, ' in your den.' 

Lazarus bowed and pointed the way. Cheek knew the passage 
and the room well enough, though many years had passed since 
he had seen them. 

'Take a sedan, sir,' begged the Jew, bowing at every comma. 
1 You will find it easy, cuts off the draught on all sides, sir. I 
will sit on my bed, my dear Mr. Cheek. Lord ! what pleasure to 
see an old customer again ! I hear affairs are flourishing with you, 
Mr. Cheek. I hear golden tidings of you, sir ; and to think I had 
a hand in the making of you ! Well, humble instruments, sir ! 
very humble.' 

' A hand in the undoing of my son, if in the making of me,' 
said Mr. Cheek, grimly. ' Which latter proposition I dispute.' 

' No sudden embarrassment ? Want a helping hand over a 
stile ? ' inquired Lazarus, fawningly. 

* No such luck for you,' answered Mr. Cheek. 

* Then how may I meet your wishes ? ' 

' I am about,' said Mr. Cheek, pompously, ' to make large in- 
vestments in mortgages on the property of a great duke in these 
parts, his Grace of Kingsbridge. I understand that he is in im- 
mediate need of a considerable sum ; and as I have my tens and 
hundreds of thousands at command, I am inclined to lend him 
what he wants on the security of some of his estates. Now ' 
suddenly ' what have you to do with the Duke's affairs ? You sent 
that clever girl outside to Court Eoyal to pry into and find out 
how the Duke's books stood. What is your stake ? ' 

Lazarus was so startled that he could not speak. He sat with 
open mouth and eyes, staring at his visitor. 

4 Know all about it,' said Mr. Cheek, coolly. ' Steward is my 
relation. He and your girl out there have told me all but one 
thing. What is your interest in the Kingsbridge estates ? ' 

Lazarus pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his face. 



214 COURT ROYAL. 

' You you are going to lend money to the Duke ! ' he ex- 
claimed. ' I did not suppose you such a gull. Do you know that 
his land is mortgaged to its full value in times like these ? It is 
a bad business. Do not soil your fingers with it.' 

' Can take care of myself. Want no advice,' said Mr. Cheek, 
unmoved. 

* You are bewildered and befooled by aristocratical hocus- 
pocus. I've seen the sort of thing done on a platform with a few 
passes, and a man loses his power of will. He does everything 
the electro-biologist orders. The Duke has made his passes over 
you be on your guard. The case is hopeless.' 

' What have you to do with the matter ? ' 

' I I ? Oh yes ! I have lent money. I have taken up a 
mortgage or two. I've burnt my fingers. Perhaps you would 
like to see what the burdens on the estate are. You shall see.' 

He went to his closet and extracted a memorandum-book, and 
offered it to his visitor. 

* Is this what was extracted by your girl ? ' asked Cheek. 
Lazarus winced. 

* I see your name nowhere here,' said the great trader. 

t No no but I am there. What do you think of that ? Is 
it ugly, or is it beautiful ? ' 

' Very ugly indeed, for the Duke. Nevertheless, I don't see 
any great risk. I shall take over the two mortgages that have 
been called in.' 

t Others are going to follow,' said the Jew. ' I have been to 
several of the mortgagees, who are my friends, belong to my race, 
and they are all stirring. Have you seen fowlers out wild-duck 
shooting when the winds drive the birds near shore ? The men 
make a ring of boats and row inwards, driving the ducks and 
geese together till they start to fly, and then bang ! bang ! 
bang! from all sides, and down they fall in hundreds. We'll 
bring down our ducal ducks. Will you join in the sport ? ' 

Lazarus looked hard at his visitor, and Cheek measured him 
with his eyes. 

* You are not moving out of love for the Duke ? ' said the Jew, 
derisively ; * not out of desire to uphold so grand a pillar of the 
constitution ? ' 

' The Duke and the ducal family are nothing to me. I want 
their land.' 

' Their land and residence ; Court Eoyal, with its park.' 



COURT ROYAL. 215 

Lazarus laughed maliciously. 

Cheek looked hard at him. * And you you would do the 
same ? ' 

* Of course. I want their land. I want to smoke them out, 
smoke 'em out like foxes.' 

' Lion this,' said Cheek, ' smoked by fox. Joking apart, what 
is your game ? You want the land. You have an eye on Big- 
bury Bay, to make of that a second Torquay. You want to work 
the slate quarries and the petroleum shale. Bah ! you have not 
the capital.' 

' Look here,' said Lazarus ; ' let us go shares. Your kinsman 
Worthivale has been deluding you with assurances of solvency. 
The family never can pay its debts. I will foreclose on Court 
Koyal. Do not help them against me. Others will follow, they 
are all ready. It is like an avalanche ; pop ! and it shoots down 
and buries all below. You lie by and buy the land as we or the 
Duke sell. Pick it up bit by bit.' 

1 1 shall go to Kingsbridge, and see the place.' 

' Gro, by all means. Then you will be a judge if fortunes are 
to be made there. Bigbury Bay that a second Torquay ! You 
must find the site first, and the shelter. Why, the fishermen 
stand on the cliffs, and angle off them into deep water. Will you 
dig out a city in the rocks, like Petra ? Slate at Kingsbridge ! 
We have slate more accessible to Plymouth than that. Oil shale ! 
it has been tried. Plenty of shale, but no oil. Or do you 
want to oust the great family, and settle into its nest ? Lend 
them money, and you will be done. The Marquis will marry 
an heiress, and wash his debts away. You will get your money 
back, but you won't get into Court Royal.' 

' You are eager to keep me off,' said Mr. Cheek. ' What is 
your stake ? ' 

' Fifty thousand, mine. I lead the way ; I am Mr. Emmanuel, 
with my thumb on Court Royal and Kingsbridge. Others are 
coming on, till the family is crushed.' 

1 Fifty thousand !' 

* Yes. Do not let us fight. Let us share the spoil together.' 
Mr. Cheek made no reply. He was considering. 

* You are going to Kingsbridge, eh ? ' said Lazarus. ' Be on 
your guard against the great people there. They do not regard 
you as belonging to the same order of creatures as themselves. 
They hold themselves a long way ahead of the like of us.' 



216 COURT ROYAL. 

' The like of us ! ' repeated Mr. Cheek, indignantly. ' Don't 
class yourself with me.' 

' They make use of us, squeeze us as lemons, and throw the 
rind away. If they think they will get money or information out 
of you they will be gracious enough. Your cousin Worthivale 
will give them a hint to use you well. They will dazzle you with 
their magnificence, condescend to you most graciously, stupefy 
your mind with admiration of their polish and amiability and 
urbanity, then, when they have made what they wanted out of 
you, they will slam the door in your face and pass you unnoticed 
in the street. Be on your guard. I have forewarned you. If 
you want them to remain amiable and gracious, you must have 
their thumbs in a vice.' 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

A STARTLING PROPOSAL. 

THE serenity of security was gone from Court Eoyal. Though all 
went on there altered to the eye of the casual visitor, a change 
had passed over the house, like the touch of the first October 
frost on the park trees. And as the trees show their sensibility 
of coming winter in various tints, the maple turning crimson and 
the beech gold, the oak russet and the sycamore brown, so did 
the threat of impending ruin affect the various members of the 
household variously. Hitherto the house of Kingsbridge had 
been regarded as unbreakable as the Bank of England, as unas- 
sailable as the British constitution. Now the faith had received 
a shock so rude that it could never recover its childlike simplicity. 
The windows of heaven were open, the fountains of the great deep 
were broken up, and in the deluge what would survive ? The 
ark had sprung a leak, and all the household were aware of it 
and restless. On every face a shadow had fallen. The members 
of the family talked each other into momentary encouragement, 
and then parted to fall back into despondency. The Duke was 
the least affected. After he had recovered the agitation into 
which he had been thrown by the paragraph in the society 'paper, 
he put the whole matter from him. He had known all his life 
that the estates were encumbered, he had known also all his life 
that this had not precluded him from spending money. Hitherto, 
when he needed it, money had been raised, it could be raised 



COURT ROYAL. 217 

again. There was always water in the well. The pump worked 
badly. The fault lay in Worthivale ; he was old, and creaky, and 
clumsy. 

Lord Eonald, on the other hand, worried himself with schemes 
for raising money. He came into his nephew's room every day 
with a new suggestion as impracticable as the last, and when 
Saltcombe threw cold water over it he visited the Archdeacon, 
in hopes of gaining encouragement from him. At table, before 
company and the servants, the General was cheerful, told his old 
stories, abused the new army regulations, wondered what the 
service was coming to, when the first necessity for advancement 
was to gain the favour of the newspaper reporters. He was less 
sanguine in his views than heretofore, that was the only evidence 
he gave in public that his mind was troubled. 

Lord Edward remained at Court Eoyal, in spite of peremptory 
recalls from Lady Elizabeth, who insisted on his return to Sleepy 
Hollow, where cracks had appeared in the walls, and water was 
percolating through the roof, and the lamb-like curate was begin- 
ning to kick like a calf. Lord Edward saw that a crisis had 
arrived in the fate of the family, and he saw that his duty the 
paramount duty called him to remain at Court Eoyal. Where 
duties clashed the superior must be obeyed, and his duty to the 
family stood above all others. 

The Marquis was altered since his return from Plymouth. 
The alteration was not in appearance only, it was also in manner. 
He had been hitherto agreeable in society, he was now silent. 
Nothing roused him out of his depression. Before he had been 
apathetic, now he was dispirited. He accepted the impending 
ruin as inevitable, and made no efforts to arrest it. 

Beavis noticed the change and regretted it. The change was 
not for the better, but for the worse. 

Only Lady Grace remained herself cheerful, loving, trustful. 
She devoted herself more than ever to her brother, and, without 
appearing to observe his melancholy, combated it with all the 
weapons of her woman's wit. She forced him out of himself; she 
called her uncles and Lucy to her aid. Only when she was alone 
did the tears come into her eyes, and her brightness fade. Her 
brother was now her first concern, though she did not understand 
the occasion of his mood. She attributed it to despair of saving 
the family, consequent on the failure of his engagement to Dulcina 
Eigsby. Although she thought chiefly of him, she did not think 



218 COURT ROYAL. 

exclusively of him. She did not even know the main cause of 
trouble. She had resolved that some of the property must be 
sold, and that the establishment must be reduced. She dared to 
broach the subject to her father, in hopes of persuading him to 
realise the gravity of the occasion, but he refused to listen to her. 
* My dear Grace,' he said, ' talk of what you understand. If you 
want any more gardenias and the new sorts are very fine order 
them. Tell Messrs. Veitch to send you a Lapageria alba; we have 
only the rosea in the greenhouse. But, my dear, not another 
word about matters concerning which you know nothing.' 

Somehow it is impossible to say how the knowledge that 
the existing order was menaced had reached the servants' hall, 
and the greatest consternation prevailed. Mr. Blomfield and Mrs. 
Probus, the senior footmen, the coachman, and the lady's-maid of 
Lady Grace put their heads together, and concluded that the true 
remedy lay in a reduction of the establishment. Lord Konald 
must go. Lord Edward must not be there so much, and he must 
not bring that ' drefful Lady Elizabeth, as is so mean, and pokes 
her nose into everything.' 

* Far be it from me to suggest,' said Mr. Blomfield, ' that Lady 
Grace is not heartily welcome to all we have, and to the best of 
everything; still, her ladyship can't be kept on nothing. She 
really ought to be married and go. The Marquis is different. 
We must put up with him ; he is the heir, and will be Dook some 
day.' 

' But if you send away Lady Grace, I must go too,' argued the 
lady's-maid. 

1 Under those circumstances,' said the butler, ' we will make 
an effort, and keep her.' 

Upstairs, at the same time, Lady Grace was with Lucy going 
over the list of servants. 

' Dear Lucy, it is very painful. I can't bear to send one 
away, they are all so nice, and good, and obliging. It is not that 
I care for myself, but that I fear they will never get another place 
where they will all be so happy and comfortable together.' 

Owing to the tension of spirits at the Court, Beavis and 
Charles Cheek were there a great deal. Charles had been intro- 
duced as the cousin of Beavis and Lucy, and as his manners were 
gentlemanly, and his conversation pleasant, and his spirits un- 
flagging, he was a welcome guest. Neither he nor Mr. Worthi- 
vale had thought it necessary to mention his relations to the 



COURT ROYAL. 219 

monokeratic system, of which possibly the ducal family had never 
heard. Even if they had, Charles would have been received with 
perfect readiness as the kinsman of Lucy and her father. Lady 
Grace herself urged Beavis to bring his cousin whenever he could, 
to cheer the Marquis, and draw the minds of her uncles from the 
absorbing care. 

Charles Cheek was very amusing ; he was full of good stories, 
and had the tact to be agreeable without forcing himself into 
prominence. Indeed, he appeared at his best in this society. 
He knew what good manners were, and no one who saw him sus- 
pected the effort it was to him to maintain himself at ease among 
them. He was like a tight-rope dancer, who seems to be com- 
posed and assured on his cord aloft, but who knows himself to be 
safest and happiest when he is on the solid ground. 

He showed sufficient deference to the rank and age of his 
Grace, and the General and the Archdeacon, to conciliate their 
favour. With the Marquis he was freer, though always respect- 
ful, and Lord Saltcombe said once or twice to Beavis that he liked 
his cousin, and hoped to see a good deal of him. He invited him 
to come in the shooting season, and placed his horses at his 
disposal for hunting. He was asked to take frequent strolls with 
Lady Grace, and Lucy and the Marquis, when Lord Saltcombe 
naturally fell to Lucy, and Charles to be companion to Lady 
Grace. These walks were delightful to Lucy, as her sparkling 
eyes and glowing cheeks testified. Lady Grace enjoyed them, 
for Charles was always amusing, sometimes interesting. He was 
a man with a good deal of shrewd observation of men and 
manners, which he used to good effect in conversation. Lady 
Grace had a sweet voice, thoroughly schooled, and as Charles sang 
well, with a mellow tenor, and knew his notes fairly, they practised 
duets together partly to please themselves, chiefly to give pleasure 
to the Duke. 

The young man was sensible of the charms of Lady Grace ; he 
had never before been in the society of a perfect English lady, 
and a perfect English lady is the noblest and most admirable 
of the products of centuries of refinement. The culture of the 
English lady is a culture of the entire woman, mind and soul, 
as well as of body, perfect refinement and exquisite delicacy in 
manner, in movement, in intonation, in thought, and in expression. 
No man can escape the attractions of such a woman ; it seizes 
him, it raises him, it humbles him. It raises him by inspiring 



220 COURT ROYAL. 

him with the desire to be worthy to associate with such nobility ;-. 
it humbles him by making him conscious of his own shortcomings. 

Charles Cheek had been so little in the society of ladies of 
any sort, and was so ignorant of the ladies of the best English 
society, that this association with Lady Grace exercised over him 
quite irresistible fascination. He was uneasy when a day passed 
without his seeing her, and when out of her presence the recol- 
lection of her words, and the pleasant way in which she spoke 
them, formed his great delight. It can hardly be said that he 
loved her, it was certain that he worshipped her. 

f Grace dear,' said Lucy one day to her friend, ' take care what 
you are about.' , 

' What do you mean, Lucy ? ' 

'You are throwing your imperceptible threads round that 
simple young man, and binding him in bonds he will be powerless 
to rive away.' 

4 What young man ? ' 

* My cousin Charles.' 

' Nonsense, Lucy ! ' said Lady Grace, colouring slightly and 
looking vexed. 

' You cannot help yourself. You bewitch every one, down to 
old Jonathan the gardener, and Tom the stable boy. You cannot 
help it. You have thrown your glamour over my cousin. I can 
see it. When he leaves this place he will feel like the Swiss 
exiled from the Alpine air and roses to be pastrycook in Amster- 
dam. You remember that queer girl we had at the Lodge, and 
who ran away. You did the same with her, and she sent you a 
necklace in token of undying devotion. Now you are playing 
tricks with Charles. Take care that you do not encourage him to 
do something equally absurd. As for my father and Beavis, you 
know very well they would let themselves be cut to pieces in your 
service.' 

On the twenty-second of the month, Mr. Cheek senior arrived, 
and was invited to dine at the Court, along with his son and the 
Worthivales. The old trader was highly gratified. He was struck 
with the grand staircase, the well-lighted magnificent rooms, rich 
with gilding, pictures, and silk curtains, with the livery servants, 
and the general ease and luxury. He was courteously received, 
somewhat ceremoniously, and he had a few words with the Duke, 
who made himself agreeable, as he could when he chose, by 
touching on a subject likely to delight the old man. 



COURT ROYAL. 



221 



' What a very nice fellow your son is, Mr. Cheek ! He has 
enlivened our rather dull society of late. I do not know what 
we should have done without him. Beavis is our usual piece de 
resistance, but Beavis has been out of sorts lately. We feel under 
a debt to you for having spared him so long.' 




Mr. Cheek held up his head. 'Your Grace is too compli- 
mentary.' 

* Not at all. I always speak my mind.' 

The G-eneral came up. ' I am glad to make your acquaintance, 
sir,' said Lord Konald ; ' though I owe you a grudge, and I do 
not know that I shall ever be Christian enough to forgive you. 
Your boy ought to have been in the army.' 

* My fault, my lord. Bitterly regret it now when too late. 
A mistake.' 



222 COURT ROYAL. 

* It was a mistake. He is a daring fellow. He was hunting 
the other day, and took the hedges splendidly. No end of pluck 
in him. Sad pity he is not in the army.' 

The delighted father watched his son all the evening. He did 
not talk much himself, and Lord Edward and the General found 
him difficult to get on with. The reason was that his attention 
was taken up in contemplating his son with admiration and wonder. 
He could not have been more astonished had he assisted at a 
miracle. Charles was at ease in this society. Charles could talk, 
and make the great people listen to him. After dinner Charles 
played and sang a solo, talked to Lucy Worthivale, and sent her 
into a fit of laughter, stood in the window in familiar discussion 
with the Marquis, then went to the Duke, conversed with him, 
then at his request sang a duet with Lady Grace. After that 
Charles was on an ottoman with the lady, talking to her in an 
animated way, expressing himself with his hands like a French- 
man, whilst her colour came and she smiled. She coloured be- 
cause she remembered the words of Lucy. 

Mr. Cheek was struck with her ; her delicate beauty and purity 
impressed him. He was not afraid of her, but he had not the 
courage to get up from his place and walk across the room to speak 
to her. Presently she came over to him, and talked, and the old 
man felt as though a light shone round him, and a sense of rever- 
ence and holy love came upon him. He did not remember after- 
wards what she said, or what he answered, but thought that he 
had been in a dream. Afterwards, when she was at the piano 
again, he watched her, and shook his head, and smiled. Then he 
looked at Charles turning the pages of her music for her, and he 
said to himself, ' Charles is a genius ! It is not in me. The Duke 
and that old soldier chap didn't pile it on too much. He is all 
they said, and more. Worthivale was right. This is the element 
in which he must swim.' 

Mr. Cheek and the steward walked home together, Charles 
and Beavis went on before. 

* Are they not charming people ? Is not the house quite per- 
fect ? ' asked Mr. Worthivale. 

' This the style of daily life ? ' asked Mr. Cheek. 

* Always the same of course.' 

' And the income, the debts, the mortgages, the outs always the 
same ? ' said Mr. Cheek. * Nothing for it but a smash-up. Seen 



COURT ROYAL. 



223 



the accounts. Balance bad. I even I with the Monokeros on 
my back, couldn't afford it.' 

1 You have never seen this sort of life before,' said the steward,, 
reproachfully, ' and so it rather surprises you. Splendid, is it 
not ? and so homely and genial too.' 




* Won't go on,' said the man of business. ' Can't do it on the 
balance. Col-lapse.' 

4 1 hope not I trust not.' 

' I can help them. I can save them.' 

' I knew it, I was sure of it,' exclaimed the delighted steward. 

' I see they like Charlie, and Charlie likes to be on this shelf. 
I don't. I ain't suited to it. Set me on end on the floor. Don't 



224 COURT ROYAL. 

roll me up and chuck me aloft on a top shelf. Charlie can take 
that place, and he shall. I like to see him there.' 

' He conducts himself very well, but what has he to do with 
the present emergency ? ' 

' Everything. Charlie shall make Lady Grace his missus. 
Then he'll belong to the aristocracy, whatever I may be.' 

' What ! ' Mr. Worthivale sprang back, and his hat fell off. 

' Charlie shall make his proposals to Lady Grace, and I'll find 
two hundred thousand pounds to clear off such of the mortgages 
as are now troublesome. The Monokeros is still alive, and bringing 
in money for Charlie and his deary. If this ain't a handsome 
offer, show me one that is. % If you don't like my shop, go to 
another.' 

' Are you mad ? You must be mad ! ' exclaimed the steward, 
too amazed to be indignant. * Your SON and SHE ! What are you 
thinking of?' 

* What am I thinking of ? Mutual accommodation. As you 
said to me, I want blood, and they want money. Is it a deal ?' 

Mr. Worthivale stared at his guest, and remained rooted to 
the spot. 

* Madman ! ' he gasped. * Is nothing sacred with you ? ' 

* As you like,' said the trader, indifferently. * Take my offer 
or reject it. I can do without better than you.' 

( Not a word of this raving nonsense to a soul,' said Mr. Wor- 
thivale, grasping his arm. * Lord ! I wouldn't have any one hear 
of this for all I am worth.' 

' As you like,' said Mr. Cheek, putting his hands in his pockets. 
' Those are my terms.' 



(To be continued.) 



COKNHILL MAGAZINE. 



MARCH, 1886. 



AUTOGRAPHS. 

' II y a tout dans les lettres autographes ; elles promettent autre chose que la 
satisfaction d'une sterile curiosit6 ; une riche moisson de reflations inespfrdes 
y dort en attente. Quelle belle occasion de ne pas laisser p6rir sur pied les 
sottises instructives de l'homme I Et puis, a c6t6 des defaillances de la raison et 
des consciences, que de saintes larmes I quels nobles secrets d'abnfigation et de 
vertu 1 ' 

So wrote Feuillet des Conches, one of the most learned, enthu- 
siastic, and indefatigable of modern collectors ; whose treasures, 
now broken up and scattered in Boston, London, Paris, and 
Chicago, enrich the cabinets of two hemispheres. For the splendid 
harvest of chance and unlooked-for revelations, no one who has 
lingered long as we have lately done over the folios and the 
cases where lie the letters and the papers of so many great, so 
many infamous, so many noteworthy in so many different ways, 
no one who has done this can fail to echo the truth of the judg- 
ment which the author of the * Causeries d'un Curieux ' delivers. 
Before, then, we consider, however lightly, anything of the history 
or antiquity of the taste, let us opening the pages at random 
examine the nature of the harvest they will yield ; truly, as it 
seems to us also, something more than the satisfaction of a barren 
curiosity. 

* More last words,' writes Byron to his wife, his last letter 
before leaving England, as it proved for ever, in April 1816, 'more 
last words not many but such as you will attend to.' There it 
lies before us, the large sheet of post, creased and folded and 
directed to the house in Piccadilly, written on both sides, and 
signed your truly, Byron. Every line speaks to-day to us of 
the poet's pain and grief ; every line of it seems to throb with 
wounded pride and resentment. He writes of the sister to whom 

VOL. VI. NO. 33, N. S. 11 



226 AUTOGRAPHS. 

he was so tenderly attached ; gradually robbed, he cries in bitter- 
ness, of all of whom she was ever fond and now finally of himself; 
he writes of his child, but scarcely in tones of affection, more 
indeed in tones of business, of future settlement ; and towards 
the close refers to their travelling carriage, which, as they took 
but one short journey in it together, maybe she will have no 
objection to keep. The letter lies among many others, many of 
his sister's and his wife's, and next to one from Fletcher, his valet, 
dated from Missolonghi, April 20, 1824, the day after his death, 
that touchingly describes the last hours of the best and kindest of 
masters to Turk or Christian, the incoherence, the painful efforts 
to speak and be understood* ' I told my lord I was very sorry, 
but I had not understood one word of what he'd been saying '- 
the long night of watching and delirium, the morning's gradual 
silence, and the peaceful dissolution without a sigh or groan. 

Turn a few pages and the stately hand of Charles I. lies before 
us in all its royal shape and dignity. It is a letter, dated May 29, 
1630, to Marie de Medicis, the mother of his wife Henrietta 
Maria, announcing the birth of the future Charles II., and at the 
foot of the sheet, in a trembling scrawl, evidently written in bed, 
runs the signature, ' votre tres humble et tres obeissante fille et 
serviteuse, Henriette Marie.' Later, when the Civil War had well 
begun and troubles were thick, the noble formation of the unfor- 
tunate king's hand seems to dwarf and dwindle under the stress 
of misfortune and disappointment. What a difference between 
the proud and splendid Madame of 1630, the hand of the Stuart 
strong enough then to rule without his parliament, what a differ- 
ence between the conscious magnificence of Whitehall and an 
heir to an unshaken throne that seems to breathe through all that 
letter to Marie de Medicis, and the nervous and shrunken 4 acloke 
this Sunday morning, on the eve of Edge Hill, when the king 
writes in haste to Kupert ' Nepveu, I have given order as you 
have desyred, so that I doubt not but all the foot and cannon will 
be at Egge Hill betymes this Morning, where you will also find 
your loving oncle and faithful! frend, Charles K.' 

And three years later, in July 1645, after Naseby's disaster, 
are there not humility and almost despair plainly visible in the 
broken lines wherein he appeals so pathetically to the Irish 
governor, the faithful James Butler ? He calls for arms and help 
to be despatched at once, at whatever cost to the tranquillity of 
the country. ' Ormond,' he writes, ( it hath pleased Grod by many 



AUTOGRAPHS. 227 

successive misfortunes to reduce my affaires of late from a very 
prosperous condition to so low an eb as to be a perfect tryal of 
all men's integrities to me, and you being a person whom I 
consider as most entyrely and generously resolved to stand and 
fall with your king, I doe principally rely upon you for your 
utmost assistance in my present hazards.' 

The spirit which in those three letters, from Whitehall, from 
Oxford, and from Cardiff, gradually failed the king if we may 
judge from his handwriting is not wanting in the last letter 
written by his grandmother, Mary Queen of Scots, dated from 
Fotheringay, a deux heures apres minuit, six hours before her 
execution in the hall of the castle. Here there is no sign of 
faltering, no haste, no carelessness. Dignity and resignation seem 
to exhale from the paper whereon the unhappy Mary's hand rested 
for the last time so steadily, whereof the ink is scarcely faded 
and the two broad pages scarcely embrowned by time. If you 
close your eyes you can almost hear her read aloud what she has 
written. Simply and affectionately she commends her servants 
to her beaus-frere, Charles IX. of France, hardly murmurs at or 
reflects on the sentence that day announced to her by the governor 
after dinner in the hall as though she were a common felon; 
merely mentions, and without complaint, that she has not been 
allowed to make a will ; again commends her servants and their 
wages to him, and sends two precious stones for his health's sake, 
to be worn round the neck. The letter is well-nigh three hundred 
years old. and still across that spacious gulf of time seems to 
touch some of those saintes larmes of which the French collector 
writes so eloquently. 

And for saintes larmes, what tears more sacred than those 
that blister old love-letters, than those that have fallen over the 
trembling signature of the dying ? In tender reproach Dejazet 
cries to one for whom alone she acts, for whom alone she lives ; je 
ne puis ni lire ni ecrire, sighs Balzac heavily, the day before his 
death, at the foot of a letter of his wife's ; and Eugenie, fond 
record 'of the old glad days and the old glad life of Spain,' 
murmurs her happy thanks to a dear friend for his beautiful 
present, and assures him of her unalterable devotion. What a 
tragedy here suggested ! quel noble secret d'abnegation et de 
vertu lies behind that thin scrawl, sunk into the flimsy paper, 
which of us now can know ? Family pride or her own ambition, 
force from without or free-will from within, who can tell which it 

112 



228 AUTOGRAPHS. 

was that made her put aside the quiet days in the white country- 
house with its green blinds and long cool corridors, among the 
olive groves and cork trees, for the uneasy splendour of the 
Tuileries and the glitter of Trouville choose, instead of the 
peace of the Spanish mountains, the yelling rabble of Paris, the 
disguise, the hurried flight, the exile ? 

Turn the pages where you will, anyhow, anywhere there is 
always something to make you laugh, to make you sigh, to make 
you think. ' As to the k ,' scribbles the Princess Charlotte, * I un- 
derstand he is as mad as puss, and no chance, I believe, whatever 
of his recovery.' Over that, can you not both laugh and sigh ? 

Hear giddy Kitty Clive to her dear Garrick, from Twicken- 
ham, in the frost and snow of January 1776. *I schreemed at 
your parish business. I think I see you in your church warden- 
ship quariling with the baker for not making their Brown loaves 
big enough ; but for God sake never think of being a justice of 
peice, for the people will quarill on purpos to be brought before 
you to hear you talk, so that you may have as much business 
upon the lawn as you had upon the boards ; if I should live to 
be thaw'd I will come to town on purpos to Idas you, and go the 
summer as you say. I hope we will see each other ten times as 
often, when we will talk and dance and sing, and send our hearers 
Laughing to their Beds.' II y a tout dans les lettres autographes 
one must be surprised at nothing on which one lights. Not even 
at a letter from the arch-rogue Cagliostro, written to his wife in 
terms of the deepest affection, during his detention in the Bastille 
for the ' affaire du Collier,' and assuring his ' amata sposa e cara 
Sarafina ' of his complete innocence. The innocence was a lie, 
but the affection was true; one has only to read through the 
letter to be sure of that. 

And not far from Cagliostro lies the passport of ' la citoyenne 
Marie Corday,' dated from Caen, April 8, 1793, the passport that 
gave her authority and assistance to go to Paris and assassinate 
Marat. From it we learn that Charlotte Marie Corday was * age 
de 24 ans ; taille de 5 pieds 1 pou. ; cheveux et sourcils chatains ; 
yeux gris ; front eleve ; nez longe ; bouche moyenne ; menton 
rond, fourchu ; visage oval.' Friends of the Eepublic are bidden 
to give her every help en route to make her journey plain ; the 
same friends, we imagine aux Franpais, amis de loix et de la 
paix to whom the address found in her pocket after the murder 
was directed ; an address rambling, incoherent, breaking into an 



AUTOGRAPHS. 229 

occasional irregular chant of verse ; that declares, moreover, her 
conviction how the well-being of France depends alone on the 
death of the tyrant. 

Here, too, on grey paper in villainous blunt type, lowers the 
condemnation of the infamous Carrier for his participation in, 
na,y, instigation of, the noyades at Nantes ; if, indeed, that con- 
demnation were still wanting to the minds of any. It is dated 
the 4 frimaire, An. 2 (November 24, 1793), and orders the naval 
authorities to compel boatmen on the Loire between Nantes and 
Saumur to keep the left bank { sous peine d'etre regardes et 
punis comme traitres a la patrie.' Jacques Carrier, it is clear, 
was fearful of the rescue of his victims. 

Here is the original despatch of Monk and Blake, announcing 
the victory over the Dutch under Van Tromp, in June 1653; 
here, a humorous letter of Beethoven's, with the usual illegible 
signature ; here, on April 13, 1564, Cellini excuses himself from 
attending the obsequies of Michael Angelo on the ground of ill- 
health ; and here, in 1593, Cervantes acknowledges a sum of 
money, probably from a bookseller, for the sum is small. 

So much in brief support of the quotation from Feuillet des 
Conches with which we head this paper. Let us now consider 
rapidly, with what lightness of touch the lumber of the many 
centuries we have searched will permit, the antecedents and 
historical position of the collector of autographs. 

First, for antiquity. Down the long corridor of time, dim in 
the distance is descried one Atossa, of whom no more is known 
than the somewhat negative term that she was not the mother of 
Darius. But if not the mother of Darius, she was, maybe, the grand 
parent a tons of the autograph collector, for Trpforr/v 7na-To\as 
arvvrd^ai" 'Aroa-crav rrjv Hspawi' ftaai^svaacrdv (frrjaiv 'EXXaV^os- ; 
unless, indeed, a-vvrda-a-w is here equivalent to <rv<yypd<j>a) which 
to us appears more than probable and then must Atossa step 
from her proud pedestal of the first of amateurs to become the 
first of lady-correspondents; a class held, be it said, somewhat 
at a distance by the collector, almost his bane, from their vice 
of rarely dating their letters. From the uncertain Atossa down 
to Cicero is a breathless, but a necessary, leap ; and there the 
flight is worth it, for with Cicero we are on solid ground and not 
on cloud shapes, as with Atossa. Cicero, as every schoolboy 
will expect, draws a just distinction between the judicious and 
the injudicious amateur, between the monomaniac and him who 



230 AUTOGRAPHS. 

intelligently follows a sequence of interest and history. 'Ista 
studia,' he writes, 'si ad imitandos summos viros spectant, 
ingeniosorum sunt ; sin tantummodo ad indicia veteris memorise 
cognoscenda, curiosorum.' Is there not there plainly visible, or 
audible, what is vulgarly called a slo/p at those absurdities of 
collections, or collections of absurdities, we all have met with or 
heard of ? A slap at the imbecile who collects only love-letters, 
or only mad letters, or only letters written by those of one and 
the same name, or of criminals, or even stray papers of any kind, 
the papiers abandonnes of the French amateur? The fact is, 
men can be found to collect anything ; they have been found to 
collect only ropes that have, as one may delicately put it, passed 
through the hands of Calcraft and his successors ; nay, in the old 
days, to collect the very bodies themselves, and inscribe the 
cabinet with the terrible legend in letters of gold : 

A case of skeletons well done, 
And malefactors every one 1 

Istud studium, then, Cicero was of opinion might well claim 
the attention of the educated and accomplished, so long only as 
it afforded some example, fit and proper for imitation, of the most 
distinguished of the day or of the past. Of his collection, beyond 
that he had a very fine one, we know next to nothing ; scarcely 
anything, indeed, of any of the collections of antiquity beyond 
the fact that they once existed. Quintilian speaks of seeing 
manuscripts of Cicero, Virgil, Augustus, and Cato the Censor, but 
believed that when once copied they were not kept ; Aulus Gellius 
had seen a manuscript of the ' Georgics ' ; Suetonius, letters and 
memoirs of Caesar. Pliny the Elder mentions as a great collector 
one Pompeius Secundus, eminent citizen and poet, and writes he 
had seen at his house papers by Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, and 
autographs of Cicero, Augustus, and Virgil. Pliny himself had 
a collection valued during his lifetime at over 3,OOOL, chiefly 
formed as it appears from that of Mucianus, thrice consul, who 
is quoted by Tacitus as having published of his treasures fourteen 
volumes, eleven of letters, and three of causes celebres. This 
collection of Pliny the Elder was kept by Pliny the Younger, and 
has gone now who can tell where, unless it be into the maw of 
the northern barbarians. Or, perhaps, lent and lost, as pathetic 
a title it seems to us as loved and lost; lent and lost, that 
accounts for the disappearance of so much ; that unhappily 
accounts for the ' Iliad ' and ' Odyssey,' contemporary with Homer, 



AUTOGRAPHS. 231 

seen at Athens by Libanius, sophist of Antioch, and gone to the 
sausage-maker or the pie-seller ; that accounts for the papers of 
Burnet the historian, original documents and letters lent to him 
and by him sent in their integrity to the printer to save the 
trouble of copying, and so lost ; that accounts for the correspond- 
ence between Maitland and Mary Queen of Scots, lent to a 
Lauderdale, and by him, judiciously, lost. 

Egypt is the only country in the world where, thanks to the 
manners for you cannot very well lend out of a relative's her- 
metically sealed tomb and thanks to the climate, papyri have 
come down to us older than Moses. Two more references to the 
antique and we have done with it, for the antique is out of fashion. 
We have quoted from modern letters, the actual documents, to 
give some idea of what may be the interest of their contents ; let 
us quote now from ancient tablets, or rather from their transcripts 
as they appear in the annals of Suetonius. In his Life of Caesar 
Augustus, in the seventy-first chapter, referring to Augustus' 
gaming propensities, Suetonius quotes from a letter under the 
emperor's own hand, in which he says, * I supped, my dear 
Tiberius, with the same company. We had, besides, Vinicius 
and Silvius the father. We gamed at supper like old fellows, both 
yesterday and to-day. And as any one threw upon the tali [dice 
with four oblong sides] aces or sixes, he put down for every talus 
a denarius ; all which was gained by him who threw a Venus [the 
highest cast].' In another letter he writes, ' We had, my dear 
Tiberius, a pleasant time of it during the festival of Minerva : 
for we played every day and kept the gaming-board warm. Your 
brother uttered many exclamations at a desperate run of ill- 
fortune ; but, recovering by degrees and unexpectedly, he in the 
end lost not much. I lost twenty thousand sesterces for my part ; 
but then I was profusely generous in my play, as I commonly am ; 
for had I insisted upon the stakes which I declined, or kept what 
I gave away, I should have won about fifty thousand. But this I 
like better ; for it will raise my character for generosity to the 
skies.' In a letter to his daughter : ' I have sent you two hun- 
dred and fifty denarii, which I gave to every one of my guests ; in 
case they were inclined at supper to divert themselves with the 
tali, or at the game of even-or-odd.' And in the eighty-seventh 
chapter, in commenting upon the peculiarities and affectations of 
Augustus in ordinary conversation how, for instance, he would 
substitute one word for another, and the accusative plural for the 



232 AUTOGRAPHS. 

genitive singular, and, in a word, have all the tricks of fashionable 
talk Suetonius concludes by saying, ' I have likewise remarked 
this singularity in his handwriting ; he never divides his words, 
so as to carry his letters which cannot be inserted at the end of a 
line to the next, but puts them below the other, inclosed by a 
bracket.' 

^ Our second reference is to the Life of Nero, where in the fifty- 
second chapter we hear of the emperor's turn for poetry, which 
he composed both with pleasure and ease ; nor did he, says Sue- 
tonius, as some think, publish those of other writers as his own. 
In fact, writes his biographer, ' several little pocket-books and 
loose sheets have come into jny possession, which contain some 
well-known verses in his own hand, and written in such a manner 
that it was very evident, from the blotting and interlining, that 
they had not been transcribed from a copy, nor dictated by another, 
but were written by the composer of them.' 

So much for the handwriting of Caesar Augustus and the 
poetry of Nero. From them both must we now turn to a Bohemian 
country gentleman (there being nothing between), who, at the 
beginning of the sixteenth century, in a book that contained his 
exploits of the chase, first collected the signatures of his friends ; 
in testimony, we imagine, either to the truth of what he wrote 
or of some similar adventures of their own. Between Caesar 
Augustus and the Bohemian squire lie the dark ages of the auto- 
graph collector, the good times for the mediaeval pastrycook, when 
ignorance and the barbarian did their worst on the treasures of 
the past. Documents so carefully kept were in those days as 
carelessly destroyed, either from the popular suspicion that they 
treated of magic for instance, the manuscripts of Pythagoras at 
Athens or were accounted for by the ravaging Northmen, or 
consumed by a more inexcusable process even still by which 
some of the most interesting records of this country met their 
fate about forty years ago and to which we shall presently revert. 
From whatever cause, autographs follow much the same upward 
and downward career as belles lettres, and, owing to wholesale de- 
struction, until the renaissance of learning, when copies of im- 
portant manuscripts began to be kept by the monks and to pass 
to the libraries, there is scarcely a writing handed down to to-day 
on which the gravest suspicion of its genuineness has not been 
cast by the expert. 

The Bohemian squire of 1507, with his Album Amicorum, 



AUTOGRAPHS. 233 

the signatures and the marks of his great hunter friends, is the 
first of modern collectors, and be it noted that he collected only 
the signatures of his friends, for friendship's sake and not for 
curiosity. The custom became fashionable and almost universal 
in Germany, not only with the hunter but with the traveller ; 
young fellows on the grand tour, who on returning would produce 
their alba in proof of the good company they kept while on the 
road ; and of these little books there are five or six hundred to be 
seen in the manuscript department of the British Museum, the 
earliest dated 1554, in the Egerton collection, and one containing 
the almost priceless signature of Milton. By that time, the time 
of Milton, the friendly habit of the Bohemian squire had grown 
and altered, and at the close of the century the alba contained 
the names and sentiments of mere acquaintances and strangers, 
written often under their coats-of-arms, splendidly illuminated 
with their legends and mottoes ; and often were mere registers of 
genealogy, proofs of gentility for tourneys, Stammbilcher as they 
were called, whereby a gentleman could give evidence of his 
breeding and the right to match his quarterings against another's. 
From the nobility the Stammbilcher descended to the gentry and 
the bourgeoisie there is one extant, peculiarly magnificent, the 
property once of a Nuremberg master- flautist nor was it long 
before the usage became entirely general, nor long before every 
student possessed one to identify his origin, his faith, his univer- 
sity, his titles, and his patrons. The wandering seeker after know- 
ledge who passed through the different universities, or the Leipsic 
freshman newly arrived, would present himself before the world- 
renowned professor or college tutor for advice and guidance in 
general or particular, and at the same time produce his album for 
some scrap of learning to be inserted in it. ' I shall not leave you,' 
says the scholar in Goethe's tragedy to Mephistopheles, dressed 
in the robe and bonnet of the learned doctor Faust, ' I shall not 
leave you without presenting my album : deign to honour it with a 
souvenir from your hand.' * Very gladly,' replies Mephistopheles, 
and writing in it returns it to him ; and the scholar reads, * Thou 
shalt be like unto God, knowing the good and the evil ! ' Where- 
upon, having got his advice and now his sentiment, the scholar 
salutes the fiend respectfully and withdraws. 

There is a story told in Izaak Walton's * Life of Sir Henry 
Wotton ' that very clearly illustrates the mode of writing in these 
alba, at any rate in the seventeenth century. Sir Henry was at 

115 



234 AUTOGRAPHS. 

the time our ambassador at Venice, and passing thence through 
Germany stayed at Angusta, a town we take to be now better 
recognised as- Dresden. There, being well known from his former 
travels, he spent many evenings in decorous merriment, and one 
in particular at the house of a certain Christopher Flecamore, 
where there was presented to him an album for some sentiment, 
opinion, or apothegm, to be graciously written in it above his 
signature. Sir Henry might, indeed, have followed the practice 
of that archbishop who to such an application is wont to reply, 
' Sir, I never gave my autograph and I never will. Yours truly, 
Ebor ' or Cantuar. as the case may be ; or, at least, of the politic 
bishop who invariably inscribes*his at the top of the sheet, leaving 
no room above it for an I U ; but unfortunately he did neither, 
for not being then so industriously watchful over tongue and pen 
as he claims the incident later made him, he in thoughtlessness 
placed over his indisputable signature this pleasant and light- 
hearted definition of an ambassador: 'Legatus est vir bonus 
peregre missus ad mentiendum reipublicse causa ' an ambassador 
is a worthy soul sent to lie abroad for the good of his country a 
pun, no doubt, of one kind or another in English, but none in 
Latin. There, in the album, slept the pleasant definition of an 
ambassador for eight long years, slept there unregarded except by 
mirth, until one Jasper Scioppius, a Komanist, of a restless spirit 
and a malicious pen, who had vented much gall on the royal 
James himself, the principles of his religion, and his representa- 
tive at Venice, there discovered, unearthed, and published it, with the 
observation that this was ever the practice of the English in general 
and Sir Henry Wotton in particular mentiri reipublicce causa. 
The pleasant definition was even scrawled on many windows of Vene- 
tian glass, and declared by countersign to be Sir Henry's. Then did 
Sir Henry, startled and hurt, write two apologia, or explanations, 
one in Latin to Velsenus, literary chief of Angusta, by him printed 
and scattered over Germany and Italy ; and one to King James, 
in genius clear, says Walton, and choicely eloquent ; and thereupon 
did the royal scholar, a pure judge in such matters, publicly 
declare before the court that Sir Henry Wotton had commuted 
publicly for a far greater offence ; and as broken bones well set 
' will become the stronger, so for this slight fracture did Sir Henry's 
friends become trebly dear, for the incident taught him which 
were the friends of fair and which of foul weather, who would 
stand by him in storm and who were only for the sunshine. And, 



AUTOGRAPHS. 235 

further, it taught him that industrious guard over tongue and pen 
which never after slumbered or grew weary. 

Later, each chose his book, whatever it might be, and inter- 
leaved and illustrated it ; and as sects and parties flourished, with 
their various literature and various chiefs, so flourished these alba, 
and presented with quotations and signatures an epitome of the 
matters in dispute and the men disputing. 

It was in the seventeenth century that the collector of docu- 
ments and autographs for curiosity's sake, and not for friendship's, 
first a.ppears in the person of Lomenie de Brienne, ambassador of 
Henry IV., who died in 1638, and whose collection, arranged by 
Dupuy, was acquired by Louis XIV. and placed by him in the royal 
library. This Dupuy, with his brother Paul, were about the same 
time for forty years engaged in forming a collection of crown 
treaties and letters, ultimately left by them to Louis XIII. 
These were the first collections, for curiosity's sake, of documents 
and letters of eminent officials, accumulating in the hands of 
the ambassadors and other public men, and by them exchanged 
and sold. And as in France so in England, where Evelyn and Kalph 
Thoresby the antiquary, and a little later Harley and Sir K. 
Cotton, began to arrange the letters of their eminent friends 
and to see the future historical value of the papers of the day. 
Until the year 1822 all transactions connected with collections, all 
sales and transfers, were effected privately ; in that year, for the 
first time, autographs were disposed of publicly and singly. 

We have written at some length of the main and legitimate 
treasures of a great collection : it will not, then, perhaps be alto- 
gether out of place if we refer briefly to some of the lighter pieces, 
the clipt coins, the make- weights as it were, of which most port- 
folios, unless ruthlessly purged, have their share. Sometimes it 
is an array of the signatures of forgers, the receipts of Fauntleroy, 
the letters of Roupell, Paul, and Sadleir, sometimes the scrawl of 
Calcraft, or of Oxford the would-be regicide ; sometimes the early 
efforts of those afterwards destined to greatness, the copy-book of 
4 William Pitt, July 19, 1770,' in which in a great round pothook 
hand is to be seen : ' True glory is scarcely known : Virtus parvo 
pretio licet omnibus.' Such seem to us, as we have said in echo of 
Cicero, scarcely worthy of the ingeniosus, and better fitted for the 
curiosus ; though to which the following should be relegated ; Fal- 
coner's log-book, his marine observations of flying fish and sharks 
interspersed with snatches of verse j a letter of Charles Lamb's, recom- 



236 AUTOGRAPHS. 

mending a nurse for any one requiring restraint ; a poem of Cotton's, 
the friend of Walton, * Against old men taking physic ; ' a strange 
up-and-down performance of John O'Keefe's, the blind dramatist ; 
fragments bearing the bold Jacques R. of the Old Pretender ; a 
scrawl of Morland's, declaring how ' damned drunk ' he had been 
the night before ; receipts for Jamaica negroes and negresses in 
1800, from which we find they averaged, both sexes alike, from 
a hundred to a hundred and ten pounds; whether those are 
best suited to the curiosus or the ingeniosus, we leave others to 
decide. 

It can readily be guessed that to so many records of so many 
great, so many notorious, there must be strange stories attached ; 
that there must be thefts, concealments, abstractions, substi- 
tutions, and many of them, before Henry VIII. can rest at last 
in a private portfolio, or Shakespeare lie even in the sanctuary 
of the British Museum. Some of the most interesting of 
the Byron correspondence was purloined by a housemaid of his 
sister's, and by that housemaid's admirer pawned, of which illegal 
pledge in a fit of remorse and impecuniosity he delivered the 
tickets. How strange must have been the career of that last 
letter of Mary Queen of Scots, to get into the archives of the 
Irish college at Paris, and thence into the private hands it did at 
the Kevolution ! The Revolution goes for much in autographs, 
for much change, for much displacement, and, above all, for much 
destruction. Those days, when the archives of the Vatican and 
the libraries of the conquered towns were brought to Paris, were 
great days for pastrycooks and, through them, for amateurs ; but 
they were days that had their dark hours as well, for in 1789 some 
of the most precious of the public documents of France were used 
as ' propres a faire des gargousses ' just the thing for cartridge- 
cases ! and, in 1793, numbers of invaluable letters, among them 
the whole correspondence of Turenne and Louis XIV., were burnt 
amid cries of * Plus de nobles, plus de titres de noblesse, plus de 
savans, plus d'ecrits d'eux, plus de livres ! ' 

We, too, here in England have had our Vandalism, not of 
passion and ignorance, but of carelessness and indifference. It 
was to that we referred above when we wrote of an inexcusable 
destruction of records of forty years ago, of public documents that 
contained much of the history of the country from Henry VII. to 
George IV. To expose it dramatically, in action, the story is 
briefly this. 



AUTOGRAPHS. 237 

On a day in the year 1840, there calls at a fishmonger's shop in 
Old Hungerford Market, kept by a Yarmouth man named Jay, a 
friend, himself from Yarmouth, no fishmonger, but a connoisseur 
and collector of autographs with, moreover, a sick son, for whom 
he desired to buy soles. He buys his soles, and they are wrapped for 
him in a large stiff sheet of paper, torn from a folio volume that 
stands at Jay's elbow on the dresser, and with that the connoisseur 
goes home, and, unwrapping the soles, delivers them to the cook ; 
t when, there on the large stiff sheet of paper his well-trained eye 
catches the signatures of Grodolphin, Sunderland, Ashley, Lauder- 
dale. The wrapping of the soles is a sheet of the victualling 
charges for prisoners in the Tower, in the reign of James II., and 
the signatures are those of his ministers. 

Any other man must have given some sign, have gone off to tell 
somebody ; not so the connoisseur, but he takes his hat and stick, 
and, whistling a bit, walks back straight into Jay's shop, the shop 
of his fellow-townsman, and he buys a whiting, and he says, 
' That's pretty good paper of yours, Jay,' says he ; and Jay says, 
' Yes, it is, but plaguy stiff,' wrapping the whiting in another 
great sheet of the folio, and adds, * I've got a good bit of it, too ; 
I got it from Somerset House.' 

The connoisseur's heart gives a great leap, but, the hero of a 
hundred bargains, he remains cool and asks the price of cod. 
' Fivepence,' returns Jay : ' they advertised ten ton of waste paper, 
and I offered seven pound a ton, which they took, d'ye see ? And 
I've got three ton of it in the stables, and the other seven they 
keep till I want it.' * All like this ? '' asks the connoisseur, faint 
with expectancy. ' Pretty much,' replies Jay, ' all odds and ends.' 

The connoisseur goes home, with whiting, with cod, with 
mackerel, with skate, with parcels of every kind of fish for his 
poor fanciful sick son, and moreover with a great bundle of these 
precious papers from Somerset House, handed over to him care- 
lessly by his fellow- townsman Jay, who knows his friend's little 
weakness for rubbish and fragments, and obligingly sends round 
to the stables for an armful for him. And, safe at home, the con- 
noisseur casts the fish on the floor, and uncreases the papers, and 
. his head swims as he looks on accounts of the Exchequer Office 
signed by Henry VII. and Henry VIII., wardrobe accounts of 
Queen Anne, and dividend receipts signed by Pope, Newton, 
Dryden, and Wren. He is obliged to throw up the window for 
air, as in his armful he discovers secret service accounts marked 



238 AUTOGRAPHS. 

with the E. G. of Nell Gwynne, a treatise on the Eucharist in the 
boyish hand of Edward VI., and a disquisition on the Order of the 
G-arter in the scholarly writing of Elizabeth. The Government, 
in disposing by tender of their old papers to Jay, the fishmonger, 
have disposed of memorials of those whom, if the country has not 
most reason to be proud of, she has at least most reason to 
remember. 

During the next week or so the connoisseur is scarcely ever 
out of Jay's shop, and shows so lively a regard for Jay's conversa- 
tion and old rubbishing papers that Jay scarcely knows whether to 
admire or pity him. On one pretext or another he constantly 
carries off little bundles and wrappers, and so might have continued 
till the supply was exhausted had he not, like a true connoisseur, 
begun to exhibit his treasures, and with many pokes and winks 
detail his own astonishing astuteness and Jay's credulity. First, 
cautiously enough, to his own immediate relatives, to an uncle 
whose tastes are similar, and who raids on Jay with a spring cart ; 
but soon the news spreads, and there are so many of these fishy 
visits paid to Jay that he begins to suspect their purport, and, 
overhauling what is left of his three tons, forthwith and henceforth 
wraps his turbot in the * Morning Star ' and gives the wardrobe 
accounts of Queen Anne a rest. And now the Government are 
roused to a sense of their loss. Are there thieves at Somerset 
House ? Whence, otherwise, comes it that letters of Cardinal 
Wolsey to his king are in the market? Whence, that the 
correspondence between Clement VII. and Henry VIII. on the 
subject of his divorce are in the possession of a dealer willing to 
part with them again for gold ? These precious papers are, and 
ever have been, Government property : what rat has gnawed his 
way into the ancient chests and let the winds of heaven so wantonly 
scatter them ? 

Then the whole affair is blown, and the public clamour for a 
committee of inquiry ; and, while the committee sits, hirelings 
descend into the vaults of Somerset House, and by the official 
order so mutilate poor Jay's remaining seven tons (with which 
he had nattered himself he would much more advantageously deal 
than with the first three), that except for sprat- wrapping and 
the veriest herring purposes, for which, after all, they were sold, 
they are useless ; and, to complete the tale of his misfortunes, the 
devouring element makes short work of his stables and all that 
was left of the early delivery of these priceless records ; so that at 



AUTOGRAPHS. 239 

the end Jay, of Hungerford Market, finds himself pretty much 
where he began, except for the reputation so hardly won of having 
for some three weeks wrapped soles in official folio documents 
which the British Museum would have been only too proud to 
pla^e under their best ground glass. In the words of the old law 
reports, Jay takes scarcely anything by his motion. 

Finally, your committee'exonerate and acquit every one blamed 
or accused, with the exception of the thoughtless Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, Lord Monteagle; though, be it said, they are 
wound somewhat to frenzy pitch on learning from the mouth of 
an expert that this 70i. tender of old paper was at the lowest 
worth some 3,000?. 

One little incident that, like a mountain daisy, turns up 
among these rather arid questions and answers, may be culled 
and preserved with care. Among all these papers there were 
some hundreds and thousands of parchment strips, the meaning 
and use of which has never been quite clear, unless, as occurs 
to us, they are the writs delivered to the burgesses and knights of 
the shire, and by the sheriffs redelivered on the members' at- 
tendance. Whatever their object and explanation, many sacks 
full of them were bought from Jay by one Isinglass, a noted 
confectioner of the year 1840. But what Isinglass could want 
with strips of parchment in which he could not possibly wrap 
anything except, perhaps, ladies' fingers, which he didn't manu- 
facture was a puzzle to your committee, who, objecting to being 
puzzled, pressed the unhappy confectioner on the point, and he, 
driven into a corner, admitted that, when reduced by boiling, 
they made the most admirable jelly. 

If the above experience of the connoisseur will not entirely 
account for many strange documents in many strange hands, 
there are a hundred other ways by which Oliver Cromwell may 
descend to a scrap-album and Catherine of Arragon find herself 
at last in a portfolio in incongruous companionship with Almagro, 
Alfieri, and Ariosto. There are old houses, are there not, and old 
chests that remain spring-locked for almost as many centuries as 
the years during which the bride of the ' Mistletoe Bough ' lay 
cramped and caught in one of them ? There are niches and 
vases elsewhere than at Batheaston that still contain their 
verses and love letters, as the Flora holds hers in the play, while the 
places where they lie hid pass through hands as unsuspecting as 
those through which the secretaire with guineas in the secret 



240 AUTOGRAPHS. 

drawer passes, till some odd accident brings them both to light, 
a housemaid more conscientious than any these hundred and fifty 
years, or a chance touch of the secret spring. For 1,700 years, 
love messages slumbered on the walls of Pompeii Sylvanus is 
my heart's darling ! Julia I burn for only ! Evander is my 
dear! scratched with a stylus, as the baker's boy scratched his 
impudences on Mr. Briggs' front gate. For a hundred years a 
packet of love letters was tucked away in a niche in Westminster 
Abbey : a correspondence between whom ; intercepted who can tell 
how ? For four hundred years letters of Warwick the king-maker 
have lain at Belvoir, and have only just been unearthed in a trunk 
over the stables ; and for twb hundred, and more, all the corre- 
spondence between Cromwell and Dear Dick, his son, relative 
to the choice of the lady he subsequently married, remained 
unsuspected in an old house in Hampshire. 

As when a family breaks and flies asunder like a fractured 
wheel, and each lays hands for himself on the fragments he most 
covets, as they steal at a fire and the thief makes off unnoticed, 
so, are there not servants sufficiently composed in the disorder to 
pass over watches and snuff-boxes and buckles, and carry off the 
correspondence of the founder of the house with William of 
Orange, or the love letters of Pope to the charming woman whose 
portrait once smiled in the eating-parlour, and smiles now, alas ! 
in King Street, St. James's ? For a watch is ever a watch, con- 
sider, and in the march of fashion, crabbed though it often is, 
still will lose its value and fall to be worth only its mere metal 
weight ; but time that steals is ever elsewhere adding, as the sea 
adds and steals, and each day that passes, to thin the dial-plate 
and rob the buckle of its elegance, flips an infinitesimal doit of 
gold-dust into the scale, wherein, in the other balance, there hangs 
the original of * Auld Lang Syne,' or the actual copy of < When 
We Two Parted.' 

In the story-telling vein, and as a pendant to Mr. Jay, let us 
give a melancholy instance of this, how it comes to pass that 
Queen Anne, with her Monsieur mon frere to Louis XIV., has the 
thumb-mark of a potboy immediately under her royal sign- 
manual, and is for sale at Shepherd's Bush. In the frost and the 
snow of the Crimean winter, there was to be seen, shuffling with 
broken boots through Wild Street, Drury Lane, one of those 
melancholy figures the observant Londoner will usually associate 
with the wheeze of a clarionet and the glare of a public-house 



AUTOGRAPHS 241 

door. Under Miserrimus' arm, almost the only dry part of him, 
was tightly held a little brown paper parcel, which, presently, 
entering a small bookseller's shop, was unfastened and the con- 
tents spread on the counter for sale. There happened to be present 
at the time a well-known dealer, who with half a glance detected 
the value of the store exposed. He had heard of the crumpled 
and sodden figure, hanging about with his mysterious parcel and 
timidly trying unfrequented shops to see if they would buy, and 
had long been on the look-out for him, and now the wash of 
a London backwater had thrown him at his feet. He waited 
about outside till Miserrimus had driven his bargain, and then, 
getting alongside of him shuffling off in the slush, remarked that 
if ever he saw a man whom brandy-and-water would in that 
weather do no harm to, Miserrimus was he. It was the work of a 
moment as the elder novelists say to get Miserrimus into a 
neighbouring bar parlour, and, once there, to induce him to open 
his parcel and let the dealer see what it still contained. 

Most strange ! Why, one would fancy the poor wretch had 
had the ransacking of Longwood after great Caesar's death ; one 
would fancy him let loose in the little room with military fur- 
niture, diving and groping among the papers and stuffing his 
pockets with them, while the little corporal, scarcely cold, lay 
still and with his terrible brow and eye at rest now, prevented him 
not ! For there, in the bar parlour on the stained table, Miser- 
rimus turned out half the secrets of St. Helena! Under the 
reeking paraffine lamp lay letters to the ministry on the conduct 
of the exile and prisoner ; complaints of the illustrious prisoner 
himself as to his brutal espionage', letters of Bertrand, Mon- 
tholon, LasCasas, O'Meara ; reports even of the sentries under the 
sitting-room window, returned from hour to hour, almost from 
minute to minute : 5.40 : N. rises from the table and crosses the 
room 5.45 : returns and seats himself 6.10 : comes to the 
window 6.20 : lamp brought and blind drawn 6.40: shadow 
on blind in conversation Who ? Not O'M. 

Miserrimus gulps his brandy-and-water, and the dealer pur- 
chases, asking no senseless questions. What does it matter to 
him who his client may be ? A St. Helenist, with a soft corner 
for the girl who did the great man's room ; a drunken, discharged 
footman ; a son of Bertrand's who has quarrelled with his father ; 
a fortunate speculator in old papers when Longwood was cleared ; 
nay, even if it were Sir Hudson himself, disclaimed by the 



242 AUTOGRAPHS. 

ministry, down on his luck and dogged by imperialist avengers, 
what does it matter to him, so long as he gets the pick of the 
basket and gives a fair price ? And that is just what he does, 
and so entirely to Miserrimus' satisfaction, that he eschews the 
gentleman in Wild Street, Drury Lane, and henceforth restricts 
himself to his new friend, to whom during the next ten or eleven 
months he constantly shuffles, with his little brown paper parcel 
under his arm, ever containing something astonishing, interesting, 
and, above all, genuine. They are his only means of livelihood 
now, he explains, these papers, however they came into his 
possession ; and for the next ten or eleven months he spins for 
himself a resting-place out "of them, like the spider out of his 
bowels ; keeps a roof over his head, as it appeared later, at the 
cost of his very entrails. 

At length the end comes, and Miserrimus trudges his last 
journey down to Fleet Street, throws the last of them down on 
the counter. * That's all ! ' says he, blinking his creasy eyelids 
and rubbing his trembling knuckles ' that's all, the rest 's 
rubbish ! ' The dealer, who knows the different views of rubbish 
taken by different authorities, persuades his friend to allow him 
to go home with him, and see this rubbish for himself, and there, 
at the crazy top of a crazy Clare Market house, dives among the 
residue at the bottom of a huge trunk, and, among other strange 
fragments, turns up a cross of the Order of St. Catherine of 
Jerusalem, an order instituted by the unfortunate Brunswick 
with the precious Bergamo as Grand Master. ' Mine ! ' chuckles 
Miserrimus, and, with a yell of laughter, pins the flimsy over a 
stain on his coat and struts up and down the attic in it. 

And who was Miserrimus, who had shuffled backwards and 
forwards for well-nigh a year between Clare Market and Fleet 
Street, with the materials for secret history under his tattered 
arm and the cross of St. Catherine of Jerusalem at the bottom of 
his trunk ; who had purveyed and parted with in that time more 
than eleven hundred documents of the deepest interest who was 
he to have in his custody these so-precious papers, that were 
afterwards eagerly bought by the French Emperor and the repre- 
sentatives of the families to whom they related ? Miserrimus, 
who then straightway disappeared and was no more seen in Fleet 
Street, went elsewhere, either to earn a livelihood some other 
way, or to go the road of all who will not work and so shall not 
cat who, indeed, was he ? Truly, as the song says, truly ive 



AUTOGRAPHS. 243 

know, but may not say. Sufficient, surely, that whatever way 
you regard him, whether from above or below, he was, indeed, as 
we have named him Miserrimus ! 

And now it will be expected that we write something on the 
subject of forgeries, which are, after all, more or less closely con- 
nected with autographs ; though, as our space narrows, we will 
not treat, as at length we might, of the shameless rogue who, 
after a long and successful career among the inexperienced, over- 
leaps himself at last by the production of Julius Caesar's despatches 
in the original French, or the correspondence between Pontius 
Pilate and Judas Iscariot in the original German ! Nor of him, a 
little higher in the scale of cheats, who in the guise of Dr. Gold- 
smith writes to Eeynolds as My dear Sir Joshua, two years before 
he was made a knight, or indites an elegant epistle of Dr. Dodd- 
ridge on paper that, when held up to the light, discovers a water- 
mark of 1824. These are trifles of accuracy that may well escape 
a mind full of other more important detail, and must not detain 
us now. Turn we instead to the ingenious manufacturer of letters 
of Henry VIII., Rabelais, and Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans ; 
masterpieces which, long the gem of many a well-known collection, 
first saw the light in an obscure garret au sixieme in Paris ; 
masterpieces which, once the pride and glory of the virtuoso, 
unhappily reached their aiGipov ypap when Dunois was knocked 
down amid derision for a pound, the fair price of ingenuity ; and 
Rabelais, discovered to be a pasticcio of phrases picked from other 
correspondence, went for five -and- twenty shillings. 

The true artist in antique letters has two main difficulties to 
contend with paper and ink ; for he must be supplied with paper 
of the time, that is indispensable to his craft. No doubt our 
friend Jay, though not of course intentionally, would have been 
able to drive a fine trade in this commodity, but for misadventure 
and interference. Next he takes an ink which, as far as chemical 
ingredients can help him, will assume quickly the decomposed 
appearance true ink acquires with age, and therein lies the forger's 
weak point. No chemical knowledge has yet enabled him to 
obtain the peculiar look of old ink which has decomposed gradually, 
and which shows the thinner and thicker flow as the pen is laid 
on. The false ink decomposes equally, the letters being of the 
same regular tone of colour, but often varying in depth, from pale 
and thin to dark and thick in places. As for his models for working 
from, they are to be found and are easily accessible in any of the 



244 AUTOGRAPHS. 

great national libraries, and an abundant source is also available 
in all works of facsimile, notably the famous 'Isographie des 
Hommes Celebres.' The close imitation of these is a study of a 
life, and leads to such perfection that it demands the highest skill 
to enable an expert to detect the falsity where the forger has not 
ventured so boldly upon his work as to produce an original letter. 

Then it is he makes his mistake, the inevitable mistake of the 
rogue then comes the aio-ipov rjpap. l One can be sharper than 
the individual,' says La Rochefoucauld, ' but not sharper than all 
the individuals.' 

As for instance. In the year of the Great Exhibition of 1851 
there flashed on London a brilliant young man, of distinguished 
appearance and manner, who announced himself, though not 
loudly or obtrusively, as Byron's son ; with a quantity of his 
father's correspondence and Shelley's, which he was anxious to 
edit ; and further anxious to rearrange and collate many of the 
poet's letters which had already appeared, and some which had 
not. With an engaging air, then, and, be it said, the strongest 
personal resemblance to his supposititious father, he set about 
borrowing from the best known collectors such of Byron's letters 
as he thought would best suit his purpose. These he laboriously 
copied, sent back the copies, and disposed of the originals for what 
he could get. Then with the halo of a preface from Mr. Browning 
he published the Shelley letters from the respectable firm of 
Moxon, and they by the literary world were accepted as genuine ; 
until and here was the mistake of the ardent Gruiccioli they 
fell into the hands of Crofton Croker, who, much struck with a 
passage they contained, believed he recognised it, and, turning to 
an old volume of the ( Quarterly Review,' found that there sure 
enough was the passage, and that he sure enough Crofton Croker, 
and not Shelley was the author of it. The hue and cry was set 
to work, assisted by the collectors, astonished to find copies of their 
own Byron letters figuring at sales, but young Childe Harold had 
flown and was over the blue wave. He came, it is believed, to 
an end one can scarcely call untimely, as a petty officer in the 
American Civil War. 

To resume. The forger is again, as we have shown, besides 
the dangers of his paper and ink, sometimes condemned by the 
watermark ; though it is only just to him to say that in this 
respect as a rule he takes care to be safe. Sometimes he is so 
rash as to run a date rather fine, as in the case of the Rabelais 



AUTOGRAPHS. 245 

letter, when it was observed that the paper bore a mark which 
very closely corresponded, if it were not identical, with that on a 
letter of Michael Angelo in the British Museum, dated Rome, 
1555, while the Rabelais letter bore date more than twenty years 
earlier. But it was not so much the watermark that might have 
been suffered to pass as the R of the signature, with too long a 
tail to it and a general air of gene and the complete want of 
freedom about the paraphe, coupled with the misfortune that he 
was made to write from Italy when he was known to be at Mont- 
pellier, that raised the scoff at the last sale at which it figured, 
and cut short its career by a solitary and an insulting bid of five- 
and-twenty shillings. 

In conclusion, we offer a few general remarks, observations 
which have presented themselves to notice during the course of 
our study of this interesting subject. As to the rarity of famous 
signatures, Shakespeare's is of course the rarest. There are but 
six of them known : three to the will, two to conveyances of 
property, and one in Giovanni Florio's translation of Montaigne of 
1603, in the British Museum ; of which six, two out of the three 
on the will are, by some experts, supposed to be written by an 
amanuensis. To these there may possibly be added one other, of 
which the Americans claim the discovery, found in a folio edition 
of the plays, formerly owned by Dr. Ward, vicar of Stratford-on- 
Avon in 1 662. It is, of course, extremely likely that Dr. Ward, who 
was settled in Stratford within fifty years of Shakespeare's death, 
should have known several who knew the poet intimately, and 
from any one of whom he might easily have obtained the signature 
pasted in his folio. Signatures of Shakespeare are not to us of 
extreme interest, so long as we have * Hamlet' and 'King Lear'; 
but for many they are so, no doubt, and for all they have a 
financial value ; this is a matter for the expert to whom the 
American discovery is, we believe, to be submitted. The book 
itself was found out west of the Rocky Mountains, in the Mormon 
country, and is supposed to have been brought over by the Mormon 
immigrants of forty years ago. But from 1662 to 1835, we hear 
nothing of it ; is it believed in that interval the signature lay 
there unregarded, or covered over ; to have been considered of no 
value or interest, to a century too which produced young Master 
Ireland? Whatever the explanation, it has been secured by 
Mr. Gunther of Chicago, the best known of American collectors, 
of mark over here as the purchaser of the original of ' Auld Lang 



246 AUTOGRAPHS. 

Syne.' That there is no other signature of Shakespeare's to be 
hoped for, in this country at any rate, has been made tolerably 
clear by Mr. Halliwell Phillips, who for the last thirty years has 
been searching the archives of the kingdom, and has not found 
even a suggestion of one. 

Next to Shakespeare in rarity comes Moliere, perhaps before 
him if numbers are reckoned ; for of Moliere we believe the only 
signatures known are, at the most, five ; of which one was the 
other day presented by Dumas to the Comedie Franfaise. Of 
his plays, no more than of Shakespeare's, no fragment is known 
to exist. There is, it is true, a legend that somewhere in 
the heart of France, in an -ancient chateau that escaped the 
storms of 17 93, there is treasured the whole of one of the comedies in 
manuscript, one that has lain there restfully since its first pos- 
sessor carried it off from Versailles in 1665. He was, the legend 
declares, the original of one of Moliere's silly marquises, who, 
retiring from the Court in dudgeon, took with him the play, to 
wreak his vengeance on it, like a bull on an empty coat. But, on 
examination, it all appears to be only what is very likely rather than 
what is true. At least, if it be true, the present owner can prove 
in no better way that he has not inherited the qualities of his 
ancestor than by coming forward and letting us have a sight of 
his heirloom. 

To confine ourselves to the celebrities of our own country, the 
signatures of General Wolfe, of Lord Clive, of Algernon Sidney, of 
Defoe (whose papers were destroyed while he was standing in the 
pillory), of George Eliot, of Charlotte Bronte, are among the 
rarest. Milton's is the rarest of all English literary signatures 
after Shakespeare. Letters of the queens of Henry VIII. are very 
scarce ; one from Catherine of Arragon has quite recently realised 
161. Possibly the king unconsciously followed the advice of 
Sganarelle in * L'Ecole des Femmes,' who in the seventh maxim 
makes Agnes recite : ' Amongst her furniture, however she dislike 
it, there must be neither writing desk, ink, paper, nor pens. 
According to all good rules, everything written in the house 
should be written by the husband.' 

The earliest signatures known are those of laymen of rank in 
the reign of Richard II., whose sign-manual is itself regarded as 
the rarest of the English sovereigns. Letters, as we understand 
them, do not appear till Henry V., and among the first specimens 
are those well-known of the Paston family, in which f is given 



AUTOGRAPHS. 247 

almost as complete a picture of the condition of the country 
gentry and aristocracy during the troubles of the Roses as you 
would gather of the provincial matters of to-day from the corre- 
spondence of the rector's or the squire's wife with her relatives 
in town. Of Sovereigns since Henry VII., Edward VI. and Mary 
are those most uncommonly met with ; indeed, none of our royal 
signatures are at all, in the autographic sense, common ; not half 
so common, for instance, as those of France, where Louis le 
Grand signed so freely" that his autograph is now scarcely worth 
the paper it is written on. Later, in the early fighting days of 
the Republic, there were so many sabres d'honneur decreed by a 
grateful country, that Buonaparte, Berthier, and Bassano (who 
mostly signed them) go for next to nothing. It is curious to note 
the rarity of comparatively small names and the often abundant 
stock of those of greater moment. Somerville, for instance, the 
poet of 'The Chase,' commands a far higher price than Dickens, 
simply because he wrote fewer letters ; William Blake is valuable 
not so much for his own sake as because he did not often bring 
his large and vague mind down to the level of ordinary correspon- 
dence ; Leech is scarce, whereas the market has been swamped, 
since Nugent's sale, with Edmund Kean ; and Cowper has been 
wholly spoilt, from the dealer's point of view, by the publication 
of his voluminous correspondence with Hayley. Judges, who are 
only of contemporary interest ( pace the Lord Chief Justice), go 
down, while Keats and Mendelssohn go up. In short, in autographs, 
as in other matters where human reputations are concerned, there 
goes forward that ceaseless and general bouleversement that time 
so often chuckles to effect. 

Sometimes there are of the same letter two copies in existence, 
and no man can tell which is genuine of the three ; sometimes 
there are copies which, though copies, still have an interest of 
their own ; as, for example, spurious despatches of Parliament and 
king, sent from head-quarters for deception's sake ; imitations of 
Charles' hand, containing false news and purported to fall into 
Cromwell's, and vice versa. There are, moreover, whole copies 
of correspondence which have been prepared merely for the 
printer as in the case of the letters of the author of ' Clarissa ' 
destined later in their career to cause acute disappointment to the 
collector who had for years imagined he possessed the Simon Pure. 
Only a few years back a careful tracing of the famous receipt for 
* Paradise Lost ' sold for 43. to America of course, by accident. 



248 AUTOGRAPHS, 

Fish in the shallows will make a great splash to regain the 
river-flow, and humanity in low water will fight desperately to 
feel once more the tide and current of their former comforts and 
existence ; financial low-water has a balance almost even of great 
crimes and great virtues can show well-nigh as long a record of 
continued effort and continued self-denial as of instant failure and 
dishonesty. The following does not clearly seem to us to illustrate 
either one or the other extreme, and so is, perhaps, ' doubly dear.' 
There was, thirty years ago, a young Frenchman who in pathetic 
terms addressed himself to almost every great name in Europe, 
humbly requesting the favour of a reply bien entendu. He was, 
he cried, un hommefini, d&ave I his life was at its lowest ebb, 
and before him there lay no prospect but that of mud flats and 
sterile marshes, mouldering timbers and rotting wickerwork ; 
in a word, such was his position, and such his misery, that he 
proposed at once to commit suicide. Could the recipient of the 
letter give him any reason why he should stay his hand, any 
reason why he should drag out a life so utterly barren, hopeless, 
useless ? 

The great names of Europe responded like men and women ; 
some brief, some long, some persuasive, eloquent, tearful even ; 
some curt, scornful, jesting ; but they all answered that was the 
point. Espartero wrote : ' Sir, I do not advise you to kill your- 
self. Death is a bullet which we must all encounter sooner or 
later in the battle of life ; and it is our part to wait for it patiently.' 
Lacordaire wrote at great length, eight or ten pages in his best 
style, and there were admirable specimens (both for moral and 
saleable purposes) forthcoming from Montalembert, Antonelli, 
Fenimore Cooper, Xavier de Maistre, Sophie Gray, Abd-el-Kader, 
Alexander Humboldt, Taglioni, Heine, Alfred de Vigny, Eachel, 
Sontag, Dickens, Georges Sand, Emile Souvestre, Jules Lacroix, 
and many, many others. 

Then, like the Casino Gardens suicides of Monaco, who walk 
off with their pockets full of notes while the gendarmes go for a 
stretcher solvitur ambulando ! so did the suicide of thirty 
years ago walk off, with his pockets also full of notes, and they 
being disposed of for the highest price they would fetch, took a 
new lease of life, forswore sack, and looked about him for a way 
to live cleanly. And it was not until an ardent collector dis- 
covered that a large portion of his treasures, newly acquired, 
consisted of arguments against the folly and criminality of suicide, 






AUTOGRAPHS. 249 

that the ingenuity of the scheme was as fully appreciated as it 
deserved. 

There are other saintes larmes of which we find traces in 
turning over these portfolios, tears which though not .perhaps so 
sacred are not for that the less bitter ; tears of humiliation, 
almost of despair ; tears wrung from proud natures by indifference, 
by neglect, by want. Often the money such appeals fetch now is 
far more than the sum appealed for in the letter itself. 

Here, for instance, is nine guineas for a letter from Swift, who 
groans in it over the poverty that follows him. * If I come to 
Moor Park,' he writes, ' it must be on foot.' Here is Fielding's 
complaint of money disappointments, worth 61. 10s. ; here is 
Sterne trying to borrow 50., and poor Goldy writing of his doleful 
travels and his want of pence, fetching 40. Forty pounds ? Why, 
the very poem sold for only twenty guineas, and here a letter in 
which he speaks of how much suffering those travels cost him, 
the auctioneer knocks down for twice the sum ! For a few sheets 
of Burns there is more given to-day than he drew in three years 
from the excise ; and a page of Defoe, on which he writes bitterly 
of the treatment he had received, goes cheap at eleven guineas. 

Is it not pitiful that, to quote the fine image of Swift, Fame so 
commonly selects the eminence of the tomb, the funeral mound, 
as a vantage spot to sound her trump from ? 

Ut clavis portam, sic pandit epistola pectus these proud 
hearts speaking after death, these sombre voices from their ashes, 
how much might not have been spared them if the blast had only 
sounded on the plain, or called to them in the hollows and de- 
pressions of their lives ? 



VOL. VI. NO. 33, N. S. 12 



250 



COURT ROYAL. 

A STORY OF CROSS CURRENTS. 
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'JOHN HERRING,' ' MEHALAH,' ETC. 

CHAPTEK XLV. 

RETRIBUTION. 

EXT morning Mr. Cheek 
was silent at breakfast. 
Charles was not in his 
usual lively mood. His 
father had told him in 
his room, the night be- 
fore, of his plan, on their 
return from the Court. 
He had told him also 
that Mr. Worthivale had 
refused to entertain it. 
Charles was startled and 
gratified at the prospect ; 
startled, because he had 
not dared to wish it, 
startled also, because he 
was not sure that he did 
wish it; gratified, because 
he saw open to him the means of taking a place in society that 
had been hitherto inaccessible. He was silent because, thought- 
less though he was, the conjuncture of affairs was one that forced 
him to think. 

Worthivale was nervous and agitated at breakfast. Drops 
stood on his brow, and he was unable to pour out the coffee, his 
hand shook so, and he was forced to pass over the duty to Beavis. 
Something had occurred, more than the proposal of old Cheek, to 
unnerve him. 

After breakfast Mr. Cheek drew the steward aside. ' Well, 
now,' he said, ' with morning come cool counsels. Shall we deal ? ' 




COURT ROYAL. 251 

'How can you speak in such terms?' asked the steward. 'Do 
you not perceive that it is impossible for the daughter of such an 

illustrious house to accept Stuff ! as well propose an alliance 

between an eagle and a crocodile ! Preposterous ! simply pre- 
posterous ! ' 

Mr. Cheek stretched his arms, then drew his finger over his 
lips. 'There is nothing preposterous in it,' he said. 'Worse 
matches have been made. One likes apples, t'other likes onions. 
To my mind, I am the more respectable party of the two. I have 
lifted myself out of nothing, by my industry, into affluence. They 
have degraded themselves, by wastefulness, out of wealth into 
bankruptcy.' 

' Will you not help the family, without conditions ? ' 
' Do you take me for a fool ? What are they to me ? ' 
' Surely surely, to obtain their esteem, to deserve the regard 
of the Duke, the respect of Lord Edward and Lord Ronald, the 
gratitude of the Marquess that is something.' 

' Not worth a farthing to me,' answered Mr. Cheek, roughly. 
' Put it up to auction ; who will bid ? ' 

* Besides, you would not be giving your money, only investing 
it most safely.' 

' I have made my proposals,' said the elder Cheek. ' To them 
I stick as cobbler's wax.' 

' I cannot listen to you ! ' exclaimed the steward. ' You might 
as well sue for the moon.' He paced the room, swinging his arms ; 
he was hot with indignation. 

* I do not want the moon. I want that young woman ' 
Worthivale shivered ' for my son. She'll make a tidy daughter- 
in-law. As for those old codgers ' Worthivale's blood curdled 
(their lordships codgers !) ' they are like turkey-cocks in a 
barn-yard, ruffling feathers and gobbling at the little fowl. She's 
another sort. Wouldn't give herself high and mighty airs.' 

' For Heaven's sake ! ' cried the steward, putting his hands to 
his ears, ' have done, or I will leave the room.' 

* Needn't go,' said Mr. Cheek. ' I'm off, next coach. Time 
valuable. Can't afford to waste it like a parcel of gorgeous good- 
for-naughts.' 

'Going!' exclaimed the steward, aghast, and standing still. 
' You are not going to-day. To-day is the twenty-third : I invited 
you to be here when we meet Grudge, the solicitor for Mr. 
Emmanuel.' 

122 



252 COURT ROYAL. 

* Can't waste my time. -Sheer waste. Made my proposal 
refused. Enough ; I go.' 

* But the investment is so good.' 

* Know of a score better.' 

' But but you led me to expect ' 

' Nothing. Never committed myself. Too old a bird for that. 
Said I would come and look about me. Have done so, taken 
stock, and made a bid.' 

' Which I refuse.' 

' It has not been submitted to the proper parties.' 

* If by proper parties you mean the Duke and Lady Grace, I 
absolutely refuse to mention* it to them. They I mean the 
Duke would kick me out of the house. She Lady Grace I 
would not dare to look her in the face again.' 

* As you like,' said Mr. Cheek, washing his hands in the air. 
' Don't take amiss. When dry will brush off. I leave by next 
coach. One thing, however, I do ask. Allow Charles to remain. 
Don't want him to be back in Plymouth yet. Understand ? ' 

' Let him stay here, by all means.' 

* Eight. Hope you'll enjoy yourself with the mortgagees. 
Cheerful company. Pleasant ways, eh ? If in distress, and you 
change your mind, wire. Let the young female give her word of 
honour that she will take my Charlie, and I am ready with my two 
hundred thousand. She's not one to go from her word. Now 
portmantle.' 

' Was there ever such a fool such a confounded fool,' cried 
Mr. Worthivale, when Cheek had left the room, as he ran about, 
holding his head. * That I should have lived to hear him talk ! ' 

Half an hour later, the great Cheek of the Monokeros was 
gone, and the hope that had hung on him had fallen and lay 
broken with many another shattered hope. 

* Well ! ' said the General, entering the dining-room about the 
hour when the meeting was to take place, ( what says your kins- 
man to the mortgages ? Will he take them ? ' 

* He is a fool, an abject, drivelling fool ! ' answered the steward. 
Lord Ronald sighed. He had buoyed himself on the expectation 
which Worthivale had confided to him, that relief was certain 
from this quarter. 

1 That is not the worst,' said Worthivale, in a low tone, and he 
trembled and became white and moist. 
What now ? ' 



COURT ROYAL. 253 

' By this post,' gasped the steward, ' the the Insurance 
Company have given notice 

* My God ! not the Loddiswell mortgage for four hundred 
thousand ! ' 

Worthivale put his hand to his mouth to cover a groan. 

Then they heard a carriage drive up to the garden gate, 
followed by a ring at the bell. A moment after, the maid 
announced 'Mr. Grudge, solicitor,' and the lawyer entered, 
followed by Lazarus, dressed respectably. 

' Good afternoon, my lord. Good afternoon, Mr. Worthivale,' 
said Grudge, with freshness and confidence. ' Allow me to intro- 
duce Mr. Emmanuel.' He presented Lazarus; the General 
bowed stiffly, Worthivale shook hands. They seated themselves, 
Lazarus with his back to the light, in the window, behind Mr. 
Grudge. Presently the Marquess arrived, with Lord Edward. 
They bowed to Grudge and Lazarus, and took chairs by the fire, 
offered them by the steward. With them entered Beavis. 

Conversation began on the weather. Grudge talked of the 
crops as is correct, to those living in the country and on land. 
Lazarus said nothing. So passed ten minutes. 

* Let us proceed to business,' said the solicitor, looking at his 
watch. ' By the way, I bear a note for you, sir, from Messrs. Levi 
and Moses, who hold the seventeen thousand pound mortgage on 
Alvington ; and also the second, on the same estate, for twenty 
thousand. I am instructed to act for them. Both must be 
met in three months from date.' 

A silence ensued, broken only by a little, quickly subdued 
chuckle in the window. 

Then Beavis opened proceedings, by stating that the sudden 
calling up of mortgages at a time when rents had had to be 
reduced twenty to twenty-five per cent, all round, and when some 
rents were in arrear for two and three years, at a time, moreover, 
when land was at an unprecedentedly low value, was very incon- 
venient to the Duke, and that he desired the mortgagees to 
reconsider their demand, and allow time for the recovery of the 
farmers, when, in the event of his not being able to transfer the 
mortgages, or himself find the amount, land would have to be 
sold. 

The solicitor replied that he was acting both for Mr. 
Emmanuel and for Messrs. Levi and Moses, and he could say 
that his clients were not disposed to be harsh, but to accord every 



254 COURT ROYAL. 

reasonable indulgence. They, however, did not participate in the 
sanguine view entertained by his Grace. They believed that 
rents would fall still lower, that the golden day of British agri- 
culture was set, and the whole industry menaced with extinction. 
Holding this, they were anxious with promptitude to release their 
money, that they might invest it elsewhere. 

* But, if you proceed to extremities, you will be selling land 
when it hardly reaches twenty-five years' purchase.' 

' Better that than sell when it will not fetch twenty years' 
purchase. I have heard of desirable properties in North Devon 
in the market, and not a bid made for them at fifteen.' 

' But this is in South Devon.' 

Mr. Grudge shrugged his shoulders. 

' What, then, do you propose, or demand ? ' asked the General. 

* We are ready to meet your convenience as far as possible. 
I am instructed to yield so far as this half the total at the 
expiration of three months from date of notice, the rest in two 
equal portions, at intervals of three months.' 

Again a sound like a chuckle from the window. The Marquess 
looked sharply round, but Lazarus, who sat there, was quiet, his 
face in shadow and illegible. 

' Small charities ! ' said the General. * Better the sword Mise- 
ricorde which ends the torture with a thrust.' 

Silence ensued. Lord Edward and the General looked down ; 
the eyes of the Marquess were on the fire. 

Lazarus watched them eagerly with malicious delight. 

4 You will go no further ? ' asked Mr. Worthivale. 

' This is the limit imposed on me by my clients. You will 
understand, I am but the intermediary ; I am obliged to act as 
directed.' 

Worthivale bowed. 

Ten minutes of painful silence ensued. 

1 1 see no necessity for prolonging the meeting,' said the Mar- 
quess, rising. 

* None at all, as far as I am concerned,' answered the solicitor. 

* Sorry the matter should be ventilated with such freedom in 
the papers. There was something about it a little while ago, and 
now the Society papers are still more explicit. There is no mis- 
taking the allusions. If worth while, prosecutions might be 
begun. Hah ! ' said Grudge, ' I have them in my pocket. Eeally, 
these periodicals are offensive and insulting.' 



COURT ROYAL. 255 

The colour rushed into the General's face. Lord Edward 
turned pale, and held the jamb of the chimney-piece to prevent 
himself from falling ; a mist formed before his eyes. Lord Salt- 
combe compressed his lips and clenched his hands. As Grudge 
offered him the papers with coarse civility, he brushed them aside. 

' You want me no further ? ' he said to Mr. Worthivale. 

1 No, my lord, there is nothing to be done.' 

' Very well ; I will consult my uncles at home. I wish you all 
a good afternoon.' 

' A very pleasant afternoon to you, my lord,' said Lazarus, also 
rising, and bowing deeply. 

Lord Saltcombe slightly bent his head, and left the room. 

Almost immediately after, Lazarus followed ; Grudge was de- 
tained but a few minutes. When he also was gone, Lord Ronald 
looked at his brother. 

* Hopelessly ruined that is the plain English,' he said. 

' And satyrs dance and scoff over our grave,' said Lord Edward, 
pointing to the papers. 

The Marquess was walking slowly through the park to Court 
Royal, when he heard rapid steps behind him. He did not turn 
to see who followed ; then he heard a voice. 

' Heigh ! Lord Saltcombe ! Most noble Marquess, a word 
with you.' 

He arrested his walk, and waited patiently till he was caught 
up, but without turning his head. 

A moment after he saw at his side the man Emmanuel, whom 
he had scarce noticed at the meeting. The man was panting. 
He had run to catch him up. Lord Saltcombe waited till he had 
gained breath to speak. He did not know Lazarus. If he had 
seen him in past years, it had been but briefly and rarely, and he 
did not recall his features ; besides, Lazarus was oldened and 
altered since then. 

' You do not know me, most noble sir ! ' said the Jew, in a tone 
between deference and defiance. 

Lord Saltcombe contented himself with a slight shake of the 
head. 

' I suppose not. Oh, no ! of course not ! You do not know 
who Emmanuel is, who holds his grip on your heart ? No, I 
suppose not ! ' 

Lord Saltcombe became impatient ; he turned to continue his 
walk, without speaking. 



256 COURT ROYAL. 

' Do you know who holds two of your mortgages, and who has 
worked and stirred up the other mortgagees against you ? Who 
has your own your own bills in his hands ? ' 

Lazarus walked beside the Marquess, peering into his face with 
an expression full of vindictiveness. Lord Saltcombe looked in 
front of him ; he made no reply, but the veins in his temples 
swelled and darkened. 

' You do not know, I presume, that I, I hold you all in my 
power that you are at my mercy ? Do you know who I am ? ' 
asked Lazarus, starting forward and standing in his way. 

' I know that you are an obstruction, and unless you move 
yourself at once I shall lay my % stick across you.' 

' Oh, my Lord Cock-of-the-Walk ! ' exclaimed the Jew. ' What 
airs we give ourselves ! ' 

Lord Saltcombe's eyes lightened. He raised his walking-stick, 
and would have brought it down on Lazarus had not the Jew 
hastily added : * I am Emmanuel Lazarus, of the Barbican, Ply- 
mouth ! ' 

Then the stick fell from Lord Saltcombe's hand. He stood 
still, and looked keenly at the man before him. The pawnbroker 
had stooped ; his attitude was cringing as he shrank from the 
menaced blow. His eyes glittered with hate. 

Lord Saltcombe drew down his hat and folded his arms. 'Well,' 
he said in a low tone, ' say what you will, I cannot touch you.' 

* Ah ! ' exclaimed Lazarus, ' you may well stand still and look 
down when you encounter me me, the man whose home you 
broke up, whose honour you stained, whose happiness you blighted. 
What was I ? Only a Jew usurer. What were you ? A great 
noble. Now I am in the ascendant, and you grovel. Now it is 
my turn to cast you down, and put my foot on your proud neck. 
I will hold you there, writhe as you may to be free. It was I who 
spoiled your fine matrimonial schemes with the coffee-planter's 
daughter. It was I who warned off old Cheek from coming to 
your assistance. It was I who put your affairs into the Society 
papers, and made you the talk of the town. It was I who stirred 
up the other mortgagees to foreclose. I have waited long till 
I could find a way to hurt you. Did I say just now you were at 
my mercy ? It was a wrong word. I have no mercy in my heart 
for such as you, only retribution.' 

Then Lord Saltcombe looked him full in the face. He was 
deadly pale, but he did not move a muscle, nor did his lips quiver. 



COURT ROYAL. 



267 



He spoke with perfect calmness, the calmness of perfect self- 
control. 

' Mr. Lazarus,' he said, ' I would have sought you out years 
ago, had I thought the interview would lead to good. But though 
I did not seek you, I have always desired to meet you, that I 




SVA/N d 



might express to you my sorrow, my deepest sorrow, for the wrong 
I did you. Perhaps it was weakness and want of resolution which 
hindered my going direct to you. Providence has now brought 
us face to face, and I hasten to express my contrition. You can 
say to me nothing that I have not said, and said daily, almost 
hourly, to myself. You speak of retribution. She she ' his 

12-5 



258 COURT ROYAL. 

voice vibrated for a moment. ' She has been overtaken by the 
hand of God, and has suffered where she sinned. I do not hope, 
I do not wish to escape the chastisement of heaven. Why should 
I go free, when she has endured the penalty ? If it has pleased 
the Almighty to touch me in the place where most sensitive, 
in my pride and love for my family His will be done. My only 
regret is that I must draw down with me other, and those very 
dear heads.' He was silent for a moment, with his eyes on the 
ground. For a moment he needed silence, to recover that com- 
mand over himself which he felt was slipping from him. Lazarus 
said nothing. His face was perplexed with contending emotions 
hate, surprise, disappointment. 

'Mr. Lazarus, take up that stick. It is a sword-cane. I 
pierced your heart once with the deadliest of thrusts. I will 
stand here, or anywhere you like, and give you full and free leave 
to run me through the heart with that needle blade. No one 
will suspect you. No one will suppose but that I fell by my own 
hand, unable to endure the humiliation of witnessing the ruin of 
my house.' 

The Jew stooped, picked up the sword-cane, and drew the 
weapon. It was fine, keen, and sharply pointed. He looked 
furtively at Lord Saltcombe, who unfolded his arms, and stood 
before him motionless, beside a tree. 

The Jew's fingers tingled as he held the sword. He turned 
it, and it flickered in the evening light. In the button-hole by 
the heart of the Marquess was a red rose. The Jew's blood 
bounded at the thought that with a thrust he could bring forth 
something redder there than that rose. But he re-sheathed the 
blade and shook his head. 

* That,' said he, ' would be insufficient. It would be too 
quickly over. Take back your sword-cane. I have not done with 
you yet.' 

' You have refused me a favour, for which I would have thanked 
you,' said the Marquess, coldly. 

'Because I knew it would be a favour,' answered Lazarus 
venomously, ' therefore I refused it.' 



COURT ROYAL. 259 

CHAPTER XLVI. 

E TENEBRIS LUX. 

IN the evening the General came into Lord Saltcombe's room. 
The old man was looking haggard. His grey moustache was not 
smooth, as usual, but looked like ragged lichen. The spring and 
strength seemed taken out of him. Lord Saltcombe was pacing 
the room with arms folded. Lord Eonald put his hand through 
his nephew's arm and paced the floor with him, without speaking. 
After several minutes' silence, the General said, ' Your uncle 
Edward leaves to-morrow. It is of no use his remaining. Even 
he can do nothing now. If it had been possible, he would have 
managed it We have been deceiving ourselves. Disenchantment 
has come. Herbert, we have been a happy and an united family. 
We will stand to our arms, and go down in the old ship together, 
as men. The Duke must know all, and resolve to sell the greater 
part of the estates. Court Eoyal itself, if need be.' 

* Yes,' answered the Marquess, ' I have foreseen this. As you 
had hopes, I did not press my view. Now you have come round 
to my opinion. Loddiswell and Alvington must go. Fowellscombe 
also. Probably Court Eoyal. We shall never now be able to main- 
tain the place. Better crawl into a smaller house, and there die.' 

* Perhaps Court Eoyal might be kept during the Duke's life.' 

' No,' answered Lord Saltcombe. * Let us see the worst over. 
If we live on here we shall be always tempted to keep up the old 
state.' 

' But remember what Worthivale has said about the Bigbury 
property. It is worth comparatively little now, but if a company 
were formed, and a town begun there, it might rival Torquay, and 
be a golden- egg-lay ing goose to us, and then the family would 
flourish again.' 

* There is no time for forming a company and building a town. 
If this had been tried three or four years ago we might have been 
saved ; but now it is over. If a fortune is to be found there, it 
will not be by us.' 

1 You are right,' sighed the General. 

' Beavis,' said the Marquess, ' calculated on saving a portion of 
our lands. Let us keep Bigbury it is possible that some day it 
may " render," as the French say ; but more than half our property 
must go.' 



260 COURT ROYAL. 

* And dear old Court Royal,' said the General, with a quivering 
voice. 

'Yes, Court Eoyal must go, or it will drain away what re- 
mains in the vain attempt to live up to it. If we do not, what 
wretchedness to be among abandoned conservatories, neglected 
grounds, ruinous outhouses, empty stables.' 

' Poor Grace ! ' sighed Lord Eonald. 

' Grace has more courage than you, uncle, soldier though you 
are. Grace will leave her flowers without a sigh, and the pretty 
rooms that have been her nest without a tear. You will see no- 
thing but smiles on her face, and hear only words of cheer from 
her lips.' 

' Yes I suppose so,' said Lord Ronald. ' And yet she will 
feel the loss more than any of us.' 

* She will have Lucy.' 

* Of course, Lucy will never leave her, good, faithful girl.' 

4 Uncle Ronald, you may as well know everything. My notes 
of hand have all been called up. You know how extravagant I 
was some years ago, when in the army. Well, the sum, compared 
with the mortgages, is nothing, but for all that, in our present 
distress, whence is the money to come from ? ' 

4 Pitiful powers,' cried the General, * troubles are raining on 
us as fire and brimstone out of heaven ! And what have we done 
to deserve it ? ' He stood still, put his hand to his forehead, and 
thrust his fingers through his white hair. ' My head spins. I 
cannot think.' 

' The first thing to be done,' said Lord Saltcombe, * is for us to 
collect our plate and finest pictures, and send them to Christie's, 
and have them sold.' 

The General withdrew his hand from his face, and stood 
staring blankly at his nephew. Then two clear drops ran down 
his furrowed cheeks. He hastily took out his handkerchief and 
blew his nose, to disguise what he was ashamed to have seen. 

* Yes, uncle this must be.' 

4 The Duke will never consent.' 

' Then it must be done without his consent.' 

' Herbert ! not possible.' 

The Marquess said no more ; he caught his uncle by the aria, 
and made him continue with him the mechanical walk. He did 
it to enable the old man to overcome or disguise his emotion. 

' I never was sanguine,' said Lord Saltcombe. 1 1 have felt 



COURT ROYAL. 261 

that a storm was gathering over our heads, and that no conductors 
would divert the flashes into innocuous channels. You and the 
Archdeacon were more hopeful, so was Worthivale, who, of all 
others, had best reason to know how matters stood. But when 
Beavis spoke out so plainly, and Uncle Edward and you refused to 
accept his opinion, then I knew that the end was near at hand. 
For myself, I care nothing. Life has little of interest, and is void 
of ambitions for me. But if it were possible to do anything to 
soften the blow to Grace and my father, I would do it. There is, 
however, nothing only the sad duty of preparing them for the 
worst, and that I take upon myself. With Grace it will be easy. 
With the Duke hard, and I may have to call on you to assist me. 
The mortgagees have a power of sale, and they will exercise it. 
What will remain to us out of the wreck, I suppose not even 
Beavis can tell.' 

Late in the evening, Worthivale arrived. He was in such a 
condition of confused misery that he could not collect his thoughts 
sufficiently to advise what should be done. He produced his 
books, but in his bewildered state of mind could make nothing out 
of them. 

* The disgrace ! ' moaned the General. ' The humiliation to 
our proud name.' 

' You are a soldier,' said Lord Saltcombe. 

' There are some things past the endurance even of a soldier,' 
answered Lord Ronald. 

' Where is the Archdeacon ? ' asked the steward. ' His opinion 
would be invaluable now.' 

' He has gone to bed,' answered the General. ' He is not feel- 
ing well. He is much dispirited by the events of to-day. To- 
morrow he must return to Sleepy Hollow.' 

Then the steward and Lord Eonald began to spin cobwebs- 
cobwebs that needed but the breath of common- sense to blow 
them away. 

Lord Norwich was the brother of the late Duchess. He was 
getting old and infirm, and he had not been down to visit the 
Duke lately in Devon. Lord Konald thought of him. He was 
wealthy. Why should not he come to the rescue ? The Marquess 
and Grace were his sister's children. Lord Saltcombe reminded 
them that his son, the Hon. Norfolk Broad, was not likely to con- 
sent ; he had spent a great deal on the turf, and would probably 
run through the property when his father died. 



262 COURT ROYAL. 

Then Worthivale suggested the taking in hand of the oil- 
shale works. Oil had not been extracted from them before in 
sufficient quantities to be remunerative, because the wrong sort of 
crushers had been employed. The Marquess replied that if the 
crushers squeezed out gold, then it would be worth while getting 
them, not otherwise. 

4 Perhaps the Archdeacon will think of something ; he is an 
eminently practical man.' said the General. ' I dare say he has 
gone to bed early to consider the matter between the sheets, and 
he will be ripe with a proposal to-morrow.' 

Thus sat the three the greater part of the night ; the Mar- 
quess was the only one who kept his head clear. At three o'clock 
the steward and Lord Eonald left, and then he flung himself on 
the sofa, and fell asleep. 

That same evening Lady Grace had been in conference with 
Lucy in her own bedroom, as she prepared to go to rest. She was 
in a pretty blue dressing-gown, her hair falling about her shoulders 
loosely. The lady's maid had been dismissed, and Lucy and she 
were alone together. 

* Tell me truly, Lucy. The meeting has led to no good 
results ? ' 

' No, dear. I hear that half the amount of two of the mort- 
gages must be paid forthwith, and the rest in two instalments 
within a twelvemonth. But that is not all. Two more mortgages 

held by Jews are called in, and so Worst of all is the terrible 

one on Loddiswell.' 

' And the money is nowhere forthcoming ? ' 

Lucy shook her head. 

' Then what will be done ? ' 

* A great deal of the property will be sold.' 
' And Court Royal must that go ? ' 

4 Beavis thinks so. Land sells very badly now.' 
' I shall not have to part with you, Lucy ? ' 

* No ' and Lucy nestled into her friend's side * never, never. 
Oh, my darling ! ' 

* For myself I do not care. If I cannot have my greenhouses 
and gardens, no one can deprive me of the green lanes and flowery 
coombs. I can be happy anywhere with you and papa, and Uncle 
Konald and my brother. But I do not know how the others will 
bear it. Dear papa I fear it will kill him. Uncle Eonald and 
Saltcombe are looking miserable. Did you observe Uncle Edward 



COURT ROYAL. 263 

last night ? I never saw his face so drawn and colourless. He 
was very bent and feeble. I asked him what ailed him. He 
smiled sadly and said, " Only a general break-up." He takes this 
to heart, and he is not a strong man like the General. I suppose 
the dreadful truth must be told papa shortly. I must manage to 
be present so as to soothe him. He will be fearfully excited. If 
I can but hold his hands I may be of some good in keeping him 
cool. What is to be done about Mrs. Probus ? Dear, good creature, 
she is bound up with us and cannot live away from us ; and I do 
not think papa would be happy if he thought she were not in the 
house ; she understands his little fancies. Then old Mr. Kowley, 
the coachman, with his red face. Oh, Lucy ! he has been so 
comfortable here with us, just driving papa out every afternoon. 
What will become of him ? He is too aged to take another situa- 
tion, and I hear that gentlemen are putting down their carriages 
everywhere. Then there is Mr. MacCabe, the head-gardener. 
He has been so civil. I have been afraid of him sometimes. I 
feared he would scold when I swept the houses of flowers. But he 
only smiled, though the loss of the cherished blossoms went to his 
heart, I know. And Jonathan he has always shown himself so 
eager to oblige. Lucy ! what trouble he took over that rockwork 
for my Alpine garden, and in piling it up he crushed one of his 
fingers and lost the nail. 'And Jane, my maid ! I give her so 
much trouble ; I am untidy with my things. There, there I 
must cry but it is not for myself ; it is only because we shall 
have to part with all these nice, kind servants, and because papa will 
be miserable anywhere else, and Uncle Ronald without plenty of 
room for his lathe, and Saltcombe without his yacht, and his fishing 
and shooting. He cares for nothing else, and these will be taken 
from him. He will have Beavis.' 

' Beavis, you may be sure, will cling to him to the last.' 
'Yes,' said Lady Grace, and she patted her friend's hand, 
which she held between her own, and looked thoughtfully before 
her, ' and your father will always be with mine ! Oh, what a 
blessing it is to have dear, faithful friends ! Let everything else 
go. These precious, golden hearts are above all that the world 
can give.' After a silence she said reverently, ' And they are God's 
gift, to comfort us.' Both were affected, and said nothing for 
several minutes, but Lucy stooped and kissed Lady Grace's hand. 
' Lucy,' said the latter after awhile, * I thought you told me 
that Mr. Cheek was going to help us.' 



264 COURT ROYAL. 

1 We thought he would, but when it came to the point he drew 
back, and made ridiculous conditions.' 

' Surely he had all but promised, had he not ? ' 

' I cannot say that. My dear father was very sanguine when 
he returned from town. He told us that he had managed every- 
thing beautifully, and that we had no more occasion for anxiety, 
as our relative, who was a millionaire, would come to the rescue. 
Dear papa's ducks are all swans, and he is hopeful on the smallest 
grounds. When Mr. Cheek came here, he did not even go over 
the estates, he simply came and went again. He did not even 
attend the meeting.' 

' But you say he made some sort of offer.' 

Lucy coloured. 

* I ought not to have said that. Papa mentioned it to me as 
a secret. He had not told Beavis, as it would have made Beavis 
furious and he might not have been civil to Charles any more.' 

' Of course if you are bound not to tell, I will not press you. 
Otherwise, I would be glad to know the conditions.' 

' They were too outrageous to be mentioned,' said Lucy, partly 
laughing, partly crying. ' It makes me very angry, and yet dis- 
posed to laugh, whenever they recur to me.' 

' You very angry ! you, Lucy ! that would be a new experience 
to me to see my little friend in a passion ; and Beavis furious 
who looks so gentle and collected.' 

' Enough to make us. If you heard, you would be angry also.' 

' Tell me, and prove me.' 

i I am ashamed. Promise me not to say a word to Lord Salt- 
combe, or Lord Konald, or the Duke not to any one.' 

' No I will not repeat what you tell me.' 

' Then you shall hear. That stupid old man, Mr. Cheek, saw 
how agreeable his son made himself at dinner, and being a 
blunderhead, he supposed that there was more in his attentions 
to you than ordinary civility. Well ! the dull fellow went home, 
and told papa he would give two hundred thousand to wards clearing 
the mortgages the day he heard that Charles was accepted by you. 
Did you ever dream of such audacity ? My father had to exercise 
great self-restraint to keep from knocking the man down. Some 
minds are not properly balanced.' 

The blood rushed through Lady Grace's veins, crimsoning her 
pure face and neck and bosom. Next moment she was as white 
as a snowdrop. 



COURT ROYAL. 265 

( I must not keep you up any later, Lucy,' she said. ' It is 
time for both of us to go to bed.' 

Lucy looked at her friend with surprise. Not an allusion to 
what had been said passed her lips. Lucy noticed her paleness, 
and misinterpreted it. ' I have offended you, by telling you of 
this piece of vulgar presumption. Let the remembrance of it 
die. I am sorry that I allowed myself to blab the impertinent 
secret.' 

' Not at all,' answered Lady Grace. ' I thank you for telling 
me. Kiss me, and go to bed. I want to be alone.' 

Next morning early, Lady Grace entered her brother's room. 
He was still asleep on the sofa. The shutters were shut, and the 
curtains drawn. The servants had looked in, but had not liked 
to disturb him. 

His sister partially opened one of the shutters, so that a ray 
of light entered. Then she drew a chair beside the sofa, and sat 
down by her brother's head. 

Presently he woke. Her gentle, pitiful, loving eyes, resting 
on his worn face, had disturbed him. He looked round and sat 
up. 

* Grace ! ' he said, and brushed his hands over his brow to 
collect his senses. 

' Yes, dear, I am here.' 

' I thought I was visited by an angel.' 

She was in a light print morning gown, her face was pale, and 
in the dimness of the room might well have been thus mistaken. 

4 Uncle Konald, Worthivale, and I have been keeping up quite 
a revel,' he said. 

She looked round ; there were no glasses on the table, but 
plenty of papers scribbled over with calculations. 

' This looks sadly dissipated,' he said ; i I arn sorry you see me 
and my room in such a condition, Grace.' 

* Oh, Herbert ! do not think to deceive me. I know well what 
it means. All hope gone. Everything lost. Is it not so ? ' 

He did not answer. 

' Yes, brother, I know the worst, and I am glad that I do. I 
have not slept at all. I was sure you and the dear uncles were 
restless through trouble. I have come to you thus early to set 
your mind at ease. The house need not be sold, the servants 
need not receive notice. All is not lost. E tenebris lux.' 

' I see no light.' 



266 COURT ROYAL. 

' It is coming.' 

4 Who will bring it?' 

' I dare say I shall.' 

' You, dear sister ! ' said Lord Saltcombe with a laugh. ' Do 
you remember the little snipe that supposed it could stay up the 
heavens with its feet, when the thunder rolled, and it thought 
they were falling ? It said " I, even I, will uphold the skies." ' 



CHAPTEK XLVII. 
LEIGH. 



THE Archdeacon left without giving advice. He had no advice 
that he could give. He looked ill. When Micah had his idols 
stolen by thievish men of Dan, he beat his breast, and tore his 
beard, and cried, ' Ye have taken away my gods which I made, 
and what have I more ? ' The belief iii his family stability had 
been the deepest fibre in his soul, and now that conviction was 
torn up his mind was in collapse. He had regarded himself as 
able to assist in every emergency, if not with money, yet with 
counsel, and now he found himself powerless to avert the impend- 
ing ruin either with money or with counsel. 

The General wrote letters all day, which he tore up and rewrote. 
He looked greyer and older than before, and was silent at meals. 
Lord Saltcombe placed no reliance on his sister's promise of relief. 
Whence could it come ? He knew of no quarter. She had given 
him no reason for encouragement. He attributed her hopes to a 
natural disposition to look for the best. He deferred breaking the 
news to the Duke, from his habitual procrastination, of putting off 
doing what was unpleasant. 

Charles Cheek was still at the Lodge. He could not disobey 
his father, who had insisted on his remaining there, but he was 
getting mortally weary of the life. Lady Grace exercised over 
him the same spell, but the country life, the want of daily variety, 
the lack of genial companions of his own age, made him wish 
himself back in Plymouth. He had no resources in himself, and 
a man without such resources is only happy in a crowd. 

' Beavis,^ old boy,' he said one day, ' I shall give a dinner at 
the " Duke's Head," and break this frightful monotony. Young 
Sheepwash and I play at billiards when we do not hunt, and there 
are one or two other fellows at the club, who are not bad, but 



COURT ROYAL. 267 

stupefied by living out of the world. I feel like a comet getting 
further and further into outer space. This Kingsbridge is one 
of life's backwaters where only sticks assemble. I shall give a 
dinner. I'll ask the Vicar's son. He is a good fellow enough. 
His father wants him to go into the Church, because the Duke can 
dispose of some livings, but he wants to go on the stage, which is 
absurd ; he has no looks and no memory. Can I invite Saltcombe ? ' 

* You can call him, but will he come ? I think not ; he is much 
engaged over unpleasant business, which has put him out of tune.' 

' Out of tune ! I should think so ; there is no tune in him at all.' 
t You must excuse him. He has heavy anxieties.' 
' I know that about money. That is no excuse for moping. 
I am always in trouble about money, but it never spoils my pitch. 
Beavis ! you have not heard of my last escapade, and how I got 
out of it. I lost a hundred pounds on a snail to Captain Finch. 
I hadn't a hundred pence in my pocket, and he was under orders 
for India. A girl got me out of my hobble. Little monkey ! 
It fills me with laughter whenever I think of her. Beavis ! His 
Grace the Duke of Kingsbridge could not do better than cross the 
palm of that little witch with silver. She'll help him, if help be 
possible.' 

' How did you or she manage it ? ' 

* She is a queer piece of goods, very respectable. Not a word 
against her character. I have had many a joke with her now and 
then. Well ! will you believe me she appealed to my father, 
and threatened breach of promise.' 

' Had you given her occasion ? Did you like her ? ' 

* Like her ! Couldn't help liking her. Such a rogue ! Enough 
to make one laugh all day. You never knew where to have her. 
Well, my father was in a tearing rage, and went down to Plymouth 
to see her, and bought her off with a hundred pounds.' 

* What has that to do with your debt ? ' 

' Everything. She enclosed .the note by next post, with my 
compliments, to Captain Finch, who was surprised and delighted 
to get the money so expeditiously.' 

' She kept none of the money ? ' 

' Not a farthing.' 

< Is she well off ? ' 

* Has not a sixpence.' 

' Why did she do this ? ' 

* To help me. Because I christened my snail after her. I 



268 COURT ROYAL. 

wish I could go to Plymouth, and see her again to thank her. It 
seems shabby not to do so, don't it ? ' 

( Your father was quite right in insisting that you should stay 
here.' 

* I cannot stand it much longer, Beavis. The country was not 
created for me. Glad I wasn't born in prehistoric periods before 
towns were. Your father is most kind and good to receive me, 
and the people at the Court are very hospitable, but I get tired 
of the same faces, same scenes, same subjects of conversation, day 
after day. I do not know how I should live without the club and 
the billiard-table.' 

i You enjoy your walks with the ladies.' 

' I get a certain distance with Lady Grace, but no further.' 

' Pray how much further do you want to go ? Pretty well for 
you to be received into such a house with courtesy.' 

' Oh, don't you know ? My father and I have settled that she 
is to become Mrs. Charles I mean, Lady Grace Cheek.' 

* What an honour ! ' exclaimed Beavis, sarcastically. * Pray, 
are the Duke and the lady informed of your intentions?' 

* No, I have not had sufficient encouragement.' 

' Then let me advise you to refrain from communicating the 
flattering proposal to either, till you have received the requisite 
encouragement.' 

' Of course, of course,' said the unabashed Charles. ' My 
governor is set on it. I should like it well enough. When I am 
with her, I am over head and ears ; when I am away, I am not so 
sure that she will suit me.' 

* Have done ! ' exclaimed Beavis. ' This is intolerable.' 

' Did you ever hear the story of the North Country collier and 
his son, who were breeding a dog for fighting ? The son went 
under the table and barked, and the dog flew at him and bit his 
nose, and held on as a stoat to a rabbit. The lad screamed to his 
father to call off the dog ; but the old fellow said, " Let him bite, 
lad, let him bite, it'll be the making o' the pup." I think my 
governor is urging me on in this affair for the same reason. 
" It'll be the making of the pup," he says.' 

Beavis' face flushed. He turned his back and walked away. 
Charles Cheek ran after him. * There, old fellow, don't take amiss 
what I have said ; it is only a joke.' 

' Then joke on some other subject. Lady Grace Eveleigh is 
sacred.' 



COURT ROYAL. 269 

' By all means,' said young Cheek, ' we'll change the topic. 
Are you going to the Plymouth ball ? ' 
No, I think not.' 

' Nor Lord Saltcombe, nor her ladyship ? ' 
' They never attend.' 

* Well ! I am off to the Court. We have planned a walk to- 
day to Leigh Priory, which they say is pretty ; and we shall pick 
primroses and wood anemones on the way. Will you come ? ' 

' No, I have business.' 

' Then there will be only three of us tricolor. Lady Grace, 
Cousin Lucy, and myself. Saltcombe has something to detain 
him.' 

Beavis nodded. He was ruffled by what Charles had said, and 
the swell in his temper would not allay itself at once. Charles 
walked through the park and joined the ladies. 

Leigh is an old priory converted into a farmhouse ; it is 
almost as left by the monks when expelled three hundred years 
ago, with scarce an alteration save the destruction of the church. 
It stands in a wooded valley, with rich green meadows occupying 
the bottom. A sweet, sheltered nook, basking in the sun a 
place in which to dream life away. 

The walk was pleasant, the air. soft, tne sun bright, the buds 
of the honeysuckle had burst into leaf, an occasional white butter- 
fly flickered in the way. The woods were speckled with starry 
wind-flowers, and the hedges full of yellow primrose. Here and 
there the blue periwinkle was spread as a mat. It had escaped 
originally from the priory garden, as had the snowdrops, and had 
become wild, like the virtues simple virtues of the old monks, 
which lingered on in the congenial soil of the simple rustic souls 
of that part of Devon. 

' I wonder whether there is truth in Sir Henry Spelman's 
doctrine that Church property carries with it a curse that consumes 
the lay impropriators,' said Lady Grace, partly to Lucy, partly 
to herself. ' Leigh has belonged to the Eveleighs since the 
dissolution.' 

' No, Lady Grace,' answered Charles ; ' the cause of decay is 
generally to be found nearer at hand than in a theft of three 
centuries.' 

* Yes,' she answered, with a sad smile, * no doubt you are right. 
We throw back the blame on our remote forefathers, that we may 
shut our eyes to our own faults. We Eveleighs have but our own 



270 COURT ROYAL. 

improvidence to look to as the cause of our fall. We have not 
taken warning in time. "We let occasion slip, till occasion came 
no more.' 

' There is no immediate anxiety, I hope,' said the young man. 

' Yes, before the year is out, our doom will be sealed, our ruin 
published to the whole world.' 

Lucy looked at her friend with surprise. Hitherto she had 
not spoken on this subject to a stranger, and now she was court- 
ing conversation thereon. 

* Let us hope for the best,' said Charles. 

' It is of no avail hoping. We have cast out the anchor, and 
there is no bottom in which it will bite. A fig-tree in our garden 
has been failing for some years. Last autumn I pointed it out to 
old Jonathan. " Please, my lady," he said, " the fig is going 
home." This spring the wood is dead, and Jonathan is stubbing 
up the roots. " He's gone home, as I said," was his remark. 
Well ! the old tree of Eveleigh is also going home, and next year 
we shall be stubbed up out of Court Eoyal, and gone home 
altogether.' 

Young Cheek did not relish a dismal subject. He tried to 
brighten the conversation by changing the topic. 

* Do you ever go to the Plymouth balls ? They are select and 
good.' 

' I have not been for some years. At one time, but not since 
Saltcombe has not cared to attend.' 

4 Won't you come to the next, at Easter ? ' 

Lady Grace paused, looked down, and said, * If you wish it.' 

Lucy started, glanced at her timidly, and coloured. Even 
Charles was surprised. He said quickly, * Wish it ! It will crown 
the ball with perfection. Oh ! Lady Grace, how delightful ! Then 
Lucy also will come, and, no doubt, Lord Saltcombe also. That 
will be charming indeed ! How pleased the Plymouth people 
will be ! ' 

Charles Cheek found a bank of blue borage and pink crane's- 
bill, and some golden celandine the two former had lingered 
through the mild winter, untouched by frost. He made two little 
bouquets, and presented one to each of the ladies. On their way 
home the conversation reverted to the family troubles. Lucy was 
puzzled. She did not say much ; she left the other two to talk. 
Her mind was engaged wondering at her friend's manner, which 
seemed changed. 



COURT ROYAL. 



271 



* I wish oh ! how I wish,' said Lady Grace, * that there were 
some means by which our ruin might be averted. I would do 
much I would do anything that lay in my own power to save 
my dear father the sorrow, and to give my brother a chance 




' 



of beginning life again, uncrushed by the consciousness of the 
impending Gotterdammerung. The knowledge of what was 
coming has blighted his life, once so bright with promise.' 

Charles looked intently in her face. 

* Do you really mean this, Lady Grace ? ' 



272 COURT ROYAL. 

' What I say, I mean,' she answered, with a slight tremor in 
her voice. 

Lucy, frightened, looked at her, and saw two fiery spots in her 
cheeks. 

' I have no pride. If it lay with me, I would sacrifice myself, 
were my sacrifice worth anything to any one.' 

4 Lady Grace ! ' 

No more was said. They were in the park. They saw Lord 
Konald walking towards them, without his hat, his white hair 
raised by the wind. He was looking excited. 

' I want you, Grace. There is a telegram from Edward. No, 
I do not mean that about your Uncle Edward. A telegram from 
Glastonbury, from Elizabeth ; come in. Saltcombe and I must be 
off immediately. The carriage is being got ready without delay. 
We must catch the 7.40 up train. That, however, sticks at 
Exeter, and we shall have to waste over an hour of precious 
time on the platform. It cannot be helped, though the Duke 
urges our telegraphing for a special.' 

'What is it? Oh, uncle!' exclaimed Lady Grace, with flut- 
tering heart, ' tell me the worst is he ? ' 

' No, not that,' answered Lord Konald hastily, but he turned 
his head aside and wiped his eyes ; ' whilst there is life there is 
hope. A seizure. How severe, the telegram, that is, Elizabeth, 
does not say. Saltcombe and I are requested to hurry to Sleepy 
Hollow. The wording is short. Elizabeth might have been fuller. 
We have not told the Duke all ; only that we are wanted, and 
that that Edward is unwell. That has made him uneasy. You 
must go to him, and pacify him, and in an hour or so show him 
the telegram. I am afraid, Grace, that this is a serious case. 
How blows do fall one after another ! and Edward the one man of 
the family on whom one leaned ! My God ! if we lose him, what 
shall what shall we do ? ' 

As Charles parted with them at the door, Lady Grace said to 
him, in a sad, plaintive voice, 1 1 am sorry I cannot keep my 
promise. You see the reason. I cannot attend the ball.' 

That evening, in her room, Lucy said to her, ' Oh, Grace ! 
what am I to understand ? You gave Mr. Cheek such encourage- 
ment ! After that he will be daring to ask for your hand.' 

' If he does I will give it him.' 



COURT ROYAL. 273 

CHAPTER XLVIII. 

THE FALL OF A PILLAR. 

LORD RONALD and the Marquess reached Bridgewater at midnight. 
There they engaged a fly, and drove across country to Sleepy 
Hollow. The drive was long. There was no train so late from 
Highbridge to Glastonbury, consequently they had no choice. 
When they drew up at the rectory door the hour was early in the 
morning, and the first streaks of dawn appeared. A light was in 
an upper window. 

Lady Elizabeth appeared. She had expected them, and sat up ; 
she was calm and collected. Lord Edward was no more. He had 
not recovered from his stroke. The archdeaconry of Wellington, 
a canonry in Glastonbury, and the rectory of Sleepy Hollow, were 
open for eager applicants. 

A bright fire was burning in the study, and the table was laid 
near it. The cook was up, and a smell of mutton-chops pervaded 
the house. 

1 Will you have some hot wine and water, or stout ? ' asked 
Lady Elizabeth. * Dear old man. He seemed to know me. I 
held his hand, and he pressed it when I spoke to him. There is 
Worcester sauce, if you like it. He seemed very unlike himself 
when he returned from Court Royal. I am afraid he over- exerted 
his brain. I know you all thought him very clever. I always 
considered him very good. There is cold rabbit pie, if you prefer 
it ; but I have no doubt you are chilly, and would like what is 
hot. At this hour there is no choice chops and mashed potatoes, 
or cold meat. There was a worry, moreover, about repairs. 
Nothing has been done to the house for some time in fact, we 
have not had the money to execute necessary repairs. Now we 
shall have a terrible bill for dilapidations. Edward got a builder 
to go over the roof with him, because the rain came in. I think 
he caught a chill, and being below par he succumbed. He was a 
very good man, and so dear to me ! ' Lady Elizabeth began to 
cry. * I know the chops are tender,' she said, after having wiped 
her eyes. * One of our own sheep we killed on Monday. I do 
not know why it is that when we buy mutton we give tenpence 
to tenpence-halfpenny, and when we sell we get only sixpence. 
We could not eat all the sheep ourselves, so what we did not want 
was sold to our workmen and parishioners. Edward let them 

VOL. VI. NO. 33, N. S. 13 



274 COURT ROYAL. 

have it at sixpence. He was so kind so over-kind. He was 
easily imposed upon. He did not sufficiently consider himself.' 
Presently, after another suffusion of tears, ' You must eat. There 
is ground rice in a shape, and strawberry jam. I know you are 
unhappy. You loved Edward. So did I ; but we are human, 
and must care for our bodies. Eat, eat, Eonald. Finish that 
bottle ; you shall have another uncorked in a minute. That in- 
sufferable curate of ours has mounted the blue ribbon. The last 
word I heard him murmur was " Ichabod ;" that means " The glory 
is departed." I am alluding to Edward, not the curate. I 
thought he wanted to leave me a message. His lips moved, 
though his eyes were closed, s I leaned over him and said, " Yes, 
Edward, dear, what is it ? " Then he sighed heavily, and pressed 
my hand, and opened his eyes, and said, " Ichabod ! " I believe 
after that he had not a conscious moment. Never mind, Ronald, 
the gravy has not gone through.' This referred to a spill of the 
juice from the chops on the tablecloth. The General's hand had 
trembled as he helped himself to the gravy. 1 1 think you had 
better not see him to-night. He looks so sweet and peaceful, as 
if he were twenty years younger. Dear, dear fellow ! What 
shall I do without him ? You had better lie down ; do go to bed 
for a few hours. You shall not be disturbed ; you have had a 
long and harassing journey, and you, Eonald, at your time of 
life, cannot bear these strains like the young. Now, of course, 
nothing can be done. If he had lived till your arrival it would 
have been different. Your beds are aired, have no fear; and 
there are fires in your rooms.' 

Lord Ronald and the Marquess remained till after the funeral. 
The funeral was conducted with some state ; Lord Edward was 
an Archdeacon, Canon of the Cathedral of Glastonbury, and last, 
but not least, son of a Duke. All the principal clergy and gentry 
of the neighbourhood attended, and the parishioners showed and 
wept, the women especially. Would the next rector let them 
have his mutton at sixpence ? 

The Hon. Cadogan Square, brother of Lady Elizabeth, was 
there. The Squares were a great legal family, the head of which 
had been created a peer. 

When the Archdeacon's will was read, it was found that he left 
all his personalty to his wife, five hundred pounds to the Cathedral 
of Glastonbury, five hundred to the widows and orphans of the 
diocese, four hundred to the County Hospital, one hundred to the 



COURT ROYAL. 275 

S.P.Gr., and one hundred to the C.M.S. All the rest of his 
property was to go to his niece Grace. But when his affairs were 
looked into, it was further discovered that his real property had 
been got rid of, sunk in the great Kingsbridge vortex in loan upon 
loan. Further, it was discovered that dilapidations on the rectory, 
and the chancel, and some cottages on the glebe, would amount 
to a thousand pounds, which the widow would be called upon by 
that horse-leech Queen Anne to pay. 

It was further discovered that Lord Edward was several 
hundred pounds in arrear to the Glastonbury Bank. Also, that 
the butcher's bill (mutton never below tenpence) for the last 
eighteen months was unpaid, and amounted to one hundred and 
forty pounds four shillings and five pence three farthings. The 
grocer's bill for the last two years had been a running account, 
with running discharges of a few pounds at random ; the wine 
merchant's had not been attempted to be paid except by fresh 
orders. Lord Konald was executor. It cost him fifty pounds 
to prove a will which left nothing to anybody but debts. The 
Madras Eailway bonds had been sold a week before the death of 
the Archdeacon, and what had become of the money nobody 
knew. No money was found in the house, except thirteen shillings 
and sixpence, the proceeds of the sale of part of the sheep to 
parishioners, at sixpence per pound. 

Lord Eonald was obliged to write to the Duke to entreat him 
to send him some money to cover immediate expenses. This the 
Duke was fortunately able to do out of the proceeds of the Madras 
Eailway bonds, which had gone to him, and he had given the 
Archdeacon a note of hand for the amount, which somehow could 
not be found. 

Most fortunately the club accounts, and the church accounts, 
were in perfect order, as were those of the diocesan societies of 
which the Archdeacon was treasurer. This was only so because 
these were managed by Lady Elizabeth, who kept all the money 
received in green baize bags, properly labelled, in a locked cup- 
board, suspended to pegs, like Bluebeard's wives. The curate, 
however, had not received his salary for the last half-year. The 
servants had all been paid recently. Lady Elizabeth discharged 
their wages out of her private purse. Unfortunately for the 
curate, she did not pay his. As soon as he was able to get away, 
Lord Eonald returned to Court Eoyal. He had been very warmly 
attached to his brother Edward, whom he had reverenced as a 

132 



276 COURT ROYAL, 

pillar of orthodoxy a pillar he was, like that of Pompey, support- 
ing Nothing and an ultimate appeal in all matters of difficulty 
relating to the farms. LordKonalcl was a man with a very gentle, 
tender heart, and Edward had been associated with his happy 
boyish days. They had been at school together ; they had been 
companions in the holidays together. In after life, Konald had 
always made of his brother Edward his closest friend and confidant, 
and adviser. Consequently the death of the Archdeacon shook 
the old man profoundly. The troubles and difficulties involved 
in his executorship bewildered and depressed him. 

The Duke was shocked to see how altered he was when he 
returned to Court Eoyal. He lost his memory now and then, and 
seemed dazed, and had to hold his hand to his head to recollect 
himself. His face was more lined, his hair whiter, it looked 
thinner; he was less carefully dressed, and his hands shook. His 
back was bent, and his tread had lost its firmness. 

The Duke clasped his brother's hand. 'You have felt the loss 
of Edward severely, Eonald. So have I. Dear, good, loving soul, 
full of honour and charity ! And what a brain ! clear, sound, 
well balanced. He ought to have been a bishop. Well ! the 
world of this nineteenth century was not worthy of him. There 
is one great and good man the less, the like of whom will not be 
met with again.' 

After a pause he continued : * I do not know what we are 
coming to. The spirit of the age has affected our excellent 
Worthivale. He demurred to my putting all the servants in 
mourning. He said the expense would be so great, as all the 
men must have new black liveries, and the women each a pair of 
black gowns and a bonnet apiece. I overrode his objections. I 
have no patience with this peddling spirit of retrenchment, 
whether in the affairs of the nation or of this house. It would be 
a scandal not to go into mourning for Lord Edward. The expense 
is unavoidable. I presume he has left a handsome sum behind 
him. I- think you told me in your letter that he had left every- 
thing, except a few trifles in charity, to Grace. As for Elizabeth, 
she is provided for by her marriage settlement.' 

* I am afraid Grace's chance of getting anything is very small,' 
said the General ; ' and we shall be hard put to, to find money for 
the charities. I don't quite know what is to be done about the 
debts is Elizabeth to pay them ? They are heavy. As for the 
charities, they amount to sixteen hundred pounds, and this we 



COURT ROYAL. 277 

must find ; if we do not find it voluntarily, the Dean and Chapter, 
and the officers of the Widows and Orphans, and Propagation of 
Heathens, and Church Missionary can force us. It would be a 
scandal ' 

' My dear Ronald, everything shall be paid at once. I will 
see Worthivale to-day.' 

' Let Saltcombe and me settle that,' said the General. i Do 
not concern yourself further in this matter. I do not know 
whether Saltcombe has spoken to you about the mortgages on 
Court Royal and Kingsbridge. They have to be met very 
speedily. Indeed, time is flying, and the money must be raised. 
I have been thinking what do you say, Duke, to the sale of 
Kingsbridge House ? It is of no manner of use to you now ? ' 

* Good heavens ! ' the Duke rose in his chair. ' Do I hear 
you aright ? The sale of Kingsbridge House ? Your wits are 
leaving you, Ronald. How can we sell that ? We must have a 
town house. Why, Saltcombe will be marrying he may be 
Duke shortly, and then he must spend the season in London. 
No ; not another word of that. The Duke without a town resi- 
dence ! like a foreign yellow-backed book, published without a 
cover ! ' 

4 We cannot make bricks without straw,' murmured the 
General. 

* How, bricks without straw ? ' asked the Duke, testily. 

* We are in a condition in which we do not know where to 
look for money, and yet we have to pay Edward's bequests, some 
at least of his debts, and the mortgages on the very heart of the 
property.' 

4 Worthivale will manage it.' 

* Worthivale cannot work miracles. The Alvington mortgages 
are also called in, and the Loddiswell threatened.' 

* Send Saltcombe to me. We will arrange for a fresh mortgage, 
or get these transferred. They have been transferred already at 
least some of them.' 

' But more money must be found, and a transfer is not easy in 
these unsettled times. The property is burdened beyond what it 
can bear in prosperous times.' 

The Duke bit his lips and frowned. ' We have managed very 
well hitherto, and we shall manage in the future.' 

'We have managed in the way of the ostrich the family 
crest, and not an inappropriate oue by putting our heads into 



278 COURT ROYAL. 

a bush, and thinking, because we see no danger, that none 
menaces.' 

' Eeally, Eonald, your anxiety as executor to Edward's will has 
ruffled your temper.' 

1 Not a bit. Something must be done, and I do not know 
what to do, now Edward is gone. I expected Saltcombe to have 
told you all he undertook to do so. As he has failed, I must. 
Emmanuel's mortgages must be paid at once those of Moses and 
Levi within three months bills have been called in, which we 
must meet. Here are our debts to Edward, which must be 
cancelled within a twelvemonth, and the charitable societies 
satisfied. It will never do for them to say that the poor and the 
heathen have been cheated of a few pounds by the noble house of 
Kingsbridge. Then there is the Loddiswell mortgage and others 
that are sure to come.' 

* These things right themselves,' said the Duke. ' " Tout 
vient a qui sait attendre." Let Saltcombe take those troubles off 
your mind.' 

( Saltcombe is prepared to sell.' 

' To that I will never consent.' 

4 If you will not sell voluntarily, the mortgagees will sell from 
under your feet.' 

'Nonsense. Worthivale will satisfy them all without their 
coming to extremities ; besides, if it did come to that well 
rather be robbed than voluntarily alienate the patrimony of our 
ancestors.' 

' Look here, Duke. Let us sell those Kubens at Kingsbridge 
House. Some of them are scarcely decent fat nude females and 
satyrs tumbling amid goats, and peaches, and grapes, and cherubs, 
and red and blue drapery, which is everywhere except where it 
ought to bfl One of them, you know, is covered with a curtain. 
Of what good to us are these pictures ? Let them be sold. They 
are worth a great deal of money, and we should be than&ful to be 
rid of such voluptuous nightmares.' 

' They were presented to the Field-Marshal by the grateful 
City of Antwerp. They are heirlooms. They have a history. 
They have been engraved. We cannot part with them.' 

' There is a quantity of old plate here I should say tons of 
it, which is never used. Why should not that be sold ? ' 

'For the best possible reason, that each piece has a history. 
Some were presented for services rendered, others are works of 



COURT ROYAL. 279 

high art, some came to us through distinguished marriages. No, 
the plate cannot be parted with.' 

* Then the books. There are perches of volumes in the library 
no one ever looks into, some, doubtless, valuable ; possibly some 
unique. Let us have down a London bookseller to value them, and, 
if need be, purchase them. Which of us cares for old books now ? ' 

' They are all bound and impressed with our arms on the 
covers, or have our bookplates inside. I cannot endure the 
thought of them finding their way into the libraries of common 
Dicks and Harries. No the books must not be sold.' 

* There is the family jewelry. There are magnificent sets of 
diamonds and other stone?, never worn. Let them be disposed of.' 

'Not on any account. Saltcombe may marry, and his wife 
will need our jewelry. You would not have a Duchess of Kings- 
bridge without her diamonds ? ' 

' I give it up,' said the General, distractedly, with his hand to 
his head. 

* My dear Ronald,' said the Duke, ' if we are to go down, which 
I will not for one moment admit, let us sink like Rienzi and his 
sister in the last scene of the opera, amid falling pillars of Church 
and State, of the moral and social order. I see on all sides threat- 
enings of the dissolution of the bases of society. It may be that 
we, in England, will go through throes like those of the Revolution 
in France. It looks like it. All that we honour and hold sacred 
is menaced. There is no security anywhere. In the general 
social upheaval and constitutional overthrow, we may be crushed, 
but do not let us contribute to our own fall.' 

i I want to avert it,' exclaimed the General. 

'Listen to me. I must trouble you not to interrupt me. 
There is one thing of which, if we be true to ourselves, we can 
never be despoiled our dignity. Let us maintain ijbat. Let us 
combat the powers of evil I mean the democracy ' 

' Bufr this is not a case of democracy at all, but of debt,' inter- 
rupted the General. 

' You are again snapping the thread of my argument,' said 
the Duke, offended ; ' and now I don't know where I was, it has 
shrunk out of reach like a ruptured tendon. Do not let us cast 
away what is ours, as sops to Cerberus, to facilitate an Avernan 
descent.' 

' What about the charitable bequests ? The honour of the 
family is at stake.' 



280 COURT ROYAL. 

1 Where the honour of the family is menaced, it must be 
maintained at all cost. " L'honneur avant la vie." But I can see 
no dignity in the lizard, which \vhen pursued slips joint after 
joint of his tail, and is content if he lives, a maimed and despicable 
trunk.' 

Lord Eonald was trifling with a bronze lizard paper-weight on 
the table as the Duke spoke, and his Grace's eyes were on it. 
' There is something to me unspeakably contemptible in attempt- 
ing to conciliate the masses by dropping privilege after privilege, 
and selling estate after estate to satisfy Jewish moneylenders it 
is all the same.' He paused, still looking at the lizard. * I 
do not see how it is possible tl^at Edward can have left so little. 
He had a good income from several quarters, and Elizabeth was 
not penniless.' 

' He has left nothing but debts.' 

What sort of debts ? ' 

' Butcher's bill, grocer, shoemaker, clerical tailor, fruiterer I 
cannot tell you all. There is quite a commotion among the shop- 
keepers of Glastonbury ; they think they will be done out of their 
money.' 

The Duke reddened. * Done out of their money ! Nonsense, 
Eonald ! With me to fall back on ? Write to them at once, I 
make myself solely responsible for all my brother's debts. Every 
man shall be paid, and paid promptly.' 

Lord Eonald still stood playing with the bronze lizard. 

* Well ! ' said the Duke, looking up, * that settles everything, 
I trust,' 

' But whence is the money to come ? ' 

* My dear fellow, I cannot attend to such trifles. Worthivale 
will manage that. Let him have the figures.' 

* And the charities ? ' 

* All shall be paid to the fraction of a penny.' 
But how ? ' 

* That is not your affair. It can be done, of course. I pledge 
myself to pay.' 

The General sighed. ' Oh, Edward ! Edward \ ' he moaned, as 
he walked away more dispirited than when he entered the room. 
( Only your genius could now disperse the cloud of difficulties 
And you are gone. One pillar is fallen, and the whole building 
will go to pieces,' 

(To "be continued,") 



281 



* THE SCENIC WORLD. 

FEW subjects are so agreeable, so interesting, as that of the stage, 
which, for young and old, for pleasure-seekers and students alike, 
has ever had a sort of fascination. In childhood our first play is 
one of the most exquisite sensations, when, as Charles Lamb says, 
the glittering scenery seemed to be made of * glorified sugar- 
candy,' and the solemn folds of the green curtain to part us from 
regions of celestial delight. In his day, however, the marvels of 
modern scenery were not ; and fifty years ago, scenery decorations 
and properties were all of the rudest kind. Few can conceive 
what ingenuity, ability, daring, and even genius is displayed in 
the wonderful ' world behind the scenes,' and it is proposed to 
give an explanation of the simple spells and methods with which 
the necromancers of the theatre work their miracles. 

Much of the extraordinary change that has taken place within 
twenty years is owing to the resources of science being applied 
to the stage. This is illustrated by the progress made in lighting. 
What with the blaze of footlights, the lights at the sides and at 
the top, the performers seem to move almost in a ring of fire to 
say nothing of that glowing furnace, the Sun-light, which fiercely 
illuminates the audience. Nay, the actress of note must have a 
special light of her own ; and we see the leading lady pursued across 
the stage by the dazzling blaze of the limelight. It is difficult to 
conceive the contrast to all this in Garrick's day, when the stage 
was lit, not by footlights, but by four large chandeliers, which hung 
over the heads of the players. This was a rational system, for 
the faces were effectively lit up, and the scenery left dim and 
indistinct. But then these were the old foolish times when nobody 
cared for scenery, but for the play only and the actors. Then any 
stuff would do for dresses the coarsest was most effective for 
there was but little light to see the texture. In Macready's dress 
in * Virginius,' now in Mr. Irving's possession, the armour was of 
pasteboard covered with tinfoil, and the dagger of wood. There 
was a scarf of red serge, a linen tunic and sandals, &c. The 
whole could not have cost a couple of pounds. But a rich dress 
would have been wasted, and now the searching rays would dis- 
play the poverty of material. Hence the introduction of rich and 

13-6 



282 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

costly stuffs which makes the actress's bill for dress now as high 
as that of a lady of fashion in the season. Hence those superb 
plushes and velvets of many tints, the brocades, the rare orna- 
ments. In the pantomimes we see whole bands of young ladies 
with their helmets, shields, and breastplates no longer of paste- 
board made of a brilliantly polished silvery metal which reflects 
the bright rays of the limelight. This metal is costly enough, 
and these suits of armour cost a good deal. Stage jewellery now 
is a regular manufacture, and though many actresses wear real 
diamonds, it need not be said that the mimic stones are more 
effective. Sham furniture looks more like furniture on the stage 
than the finest that could be ordered from Maple's. It would take 
too long to expound this, but in illustration it may be said that 
at the Theatre Franjais there is a property clock for a boudoir 
elegantly painted and made of papier-mache, and which cost five 
or six hundred francs. 

Formerly every theatre had its own wardrobe and stock dresses 
which were classified. Thus there were suits of Koman dresses, 
which served for every Roman play, like ' Julius Caesar,' ' Virginius,' 
and the like ; old English comedies had their regulation costume 
court dresses, bob wigs, &c. This stock was regularly renewed 
by the cast-off laced suits of noblemen and gentlemen, which 
were either given as presents or purchased. In Grarrick's day 
there was no troiible taken about costumes, except to have them 
handsome. In the Grarrick Club there is a picture from * Macbeth ' 
where Garrick is shown in a handsome laced coat, scarlet waist- 
coat, knee breeches, and bob wig. In ' Othello ' he wore an uniform 
of an English officer. This seems absurd enough, but it is really 
of less concern than one would think. For in these sumptuous 
dresses the players seem almost to be less the characters of the 
play than when in their ordinary dresses. Terriss and Irving 
seem much more like Terriss and Irving in the clothes of a Vene- 
tian senator of three hundred years ago than they would be in 
clothes of a more modern kind. 

Nowadays there are regular costumiers, and when a new play 
is brought out a contract is made with the person who makes and 
hires out the dresses at a fixed charge, and takes them back at 
the close of the season. They are then hired again to inferior 
theatres in town or country. This system is particularly adopted 
in the case of pantomime?, when some hundreds of dresses are 
required, which it would be quite too costly a business to buy 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 283 

outright for only a few weeks' use. At the end of the season they 
are purchased, with the pantomime itself, scenery and properties, 
for some provincial theatre. They thus return again and again 
to the costumier's store, and can be finally used for fancy balls, 
private theatricals, &c. 

No one has done so much for stage costume as Mr. Henry 
Irving. The dresses in his grand Italian revivals might have been 
worn by the Venetian nobles and dames of the era represented, 
so rich and sumptuous are they. He always chooses the most 
costly stuffs, even for secondary performers, on the principle that 
they are the cheapest in the end. Rich plushes, cut velvets, 
satins, silks are used in profusion, the plushes often costing a 
guinea a yard. His own dresses, one for each of his favourite 
characters, -would fill a room. This popular actor has the highest 
idea of the dignity of the profession : his swords, collars, &c., are 
all of intrinsic value. The gold chain he wears in ' Hamlet ' was 
the gift of an admirer among the audience, who begged as a favour 
to substitute it for the one he was in the habit of wearing. Miss 
Terry's Venetian dresses are of the finest make and material ; and 
those who witnessed * The" Merchant of Venice ' will recall the 
splendid robe of amber brocaded silk with its innumerable yards 
of sweeping train, the value of which fair readers will estimate 
better than I can. These dresses are regularly designed by com- 
petent artists : and it is interesting to see a series of pretty water- 
colour sketches, one for each character, minutely and carefully 
coloured. Grevin, in Paris, is at the head of this department, 
while here, the Hon. Lewis Wingfield and Mr. Alfred Thompson 
have been particularly successful. For one performance at Paris 
there were eight hundred dresses laid out in the dressing-rooms, 
with arms, jewels, decorations, &c., and a proportionate crowd to 
wear them, who naturally got confused, and put on wrong portions 
of the costumes, mixing them up in wild disorder. Apropos of 
velvet, there is at the Lyceum Theatre a second curtain and 
draperies of this rich material, first used for < The Corsican 
Brothers.' It was made in Paris, and contains nearly a thousand 
yards, and cost, as it is called, ' a fortune ' about 600?. or 700?. 
In the ' Princess Ida ' each young lady of the band of young 
ladies had three dresses, costing 60L for the suite, and as there 
were some thirty or forty of these fair creatures, it ' totalled up,' 
as the Americans say, to a large figure. 

Formerly the scenic artist was strictly a scene painter, and 



284 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

his work was simply to cover canvas with beautiful and effective 
pictures. To this class belonged Grieve and Telbin, and Stan- 
feld, who later became a Koyal Academician. The large bold 
style required for scenery is a fine training, and at this moment 
it is easy to distinguish one of Telbin's landscapes, so poetical 
and rich is the treatment. The artist of the Lyceum, Mr. Craven, 
is also remarkable for richness of colour, freedom of touch, and 
much grace and fancy. It is curious to visit the painting-room 
of this theatre, which is high up in the roof, when some great and 
costly piece is being got ready. Here on a table we find a small 
model stage, like a toy theatre, but which is carefully made to 
scale, with all the entrances, &e., marked. The artist first paints 
his little scenes on cardboard, cuts out the doors, windows, &c. 
exactly as he intends it to be on the real boards below. He has, 
besides, large plans of the stage, done to measure, on which can 
be arranged all the portable structures in their exact position. 
Now arrives the clever manager, who is possessed of much sugges- 
tive taste. The little scene is set for him it suits or he may 
suggest some more brilliant and effective idea. Meanwhile as- 
sistants are busy at the canvas hung on the walls, with rules six 
feet long, ruling the perspective lines in black, or getting in 
the rough colours. Of course, only a portion of the scene can be 
painted at a time, as the room is a low one. In the great foreign 
theatres the canvas can be raised or lowered through a slit in the 
floor, or the wall made high enough, as at Drury Lane, to take in 
the whole scene. 

But in these times the scene builder has taken the place of 
the scene painter. Houses, bridges, porches, streets even, are all 
constructed in the carpenter's shop. There is now no system for 
scenery ; all that the stage manager requires is that his stage 
should be a perfectly clear, open, and unencumbered space on which 
he can launch his army of men to drag on and build up these 
great structures. Formerly there were grooves for the scenes to 
slide in. At the sound of a whistle the scene was drawn away 
right and left, and we saw the grooves let down on hinges, and 
in which the new scene was to slide. All this is rococo and old- 
fashioned. In some of the older theatres one has often seen 
the two halves of a scene driven from right to left, the two men 
in their shirt-sleeves who moved them being quite visible, until 
the halves met in the middle with a sharp crack. Occasionally 
there used to be an imperfect joining, when, according to the old 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 285 

story, a fellow in the gallery called out, * We don't expect no 
grammar here, but yer might make yer scenes meet.' 

Nowadays, or rather now-a-nights, when the curtain rises we 
see the stage closed in by regular structures houses, walls, trees, 
vast flights of steps up or down which people can walk. We have 
Charing Cross, with St. Martin's Church, the National Gallery, 
and the Nelson Monument, all squeezed into a small area ; while 
at the present moment there is a built-up Thames Embankment, 
Cleopatra's Needle and all, exhibited on the London stage. These 
huge masses cost a vast deal. At the Lyceum, under Mr. Bate- 
man's management, a simple drawbridge in 'Louis XI.,' which was 
raised and lowered, cost some 25?., nearly as much as it would 
if ordered for a genuine fortress. But there is a greater expense 
in the number of stalwart arms necessary to drag these monsters 
into their places ; and how often do we hear from behind the 
agitated * cloth ' (as it is called) the creaking lumbering sounds 
as the structures are hauled on, with the shouts of those directing, 
and the trampling of feet it is as though a ship was getting in 
sail on a stormy night ; while the poor actors in the garden scene 
in front are struggling to make themselves heard. This building- 
up is a complete mistake, with the real houses, real cabs, real 
omnibuses, and the like. All these things, in proportion to their 
pretension, actually introduce the weary prose of life on the stage 
earthy details are ignored in exciting or interesting situations. 
Poetry and illusion are always general. 

It is wonderful how science and ingenuity are now applied to 
stage contrivances. In some theatres abroad a system of hydraulic 
power is used to elevate, as by a lift, any given portion of the 
stage. In this fashion a touch of a lever will cause banks and 
flights of steps and terraces to rise to any elevation. Most in- 
genious of all is the New York Theatre, where there are no less 
than two stages one below the other, and each complete ; when 
one scene is going on, the next scene is being set and arranged, 
and when the curtain falls this ascends and takes the place of the 
first. In this theatre the orchestra is placed in a gallery over the 
curtain. 

All the great theatres are furnished with an apparatus of huge 
counterpoises, and in elaborate pantomimes particularly the trans- 
formation scenes they are indispensable. These travel up and 
down beside the walls, the cords passing over pulleys close to the 
ceiling. We notice with what smoothness and ease the great 



286 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

drop-scene, of say Drury Lane Theatre, weighing many tons, 
glides aloft or descends. To wind it up would require the united 
strength of many men, and at the slightest relaxation the weight 
would overpower them and the whole come crashing down. As it 
is, a single man can raise or let it down. This is contrived by the 
counterweights which balance it almost to a nicety, and a small 
windlass can do the rest. In the grand transformation scene of 
our Christmas pantomimes triumphs of beauty and mechanism 
we all recall how the scene opens, to reveal another, and yet another 
beyond that; how some portions glide away aloft; how huge 
golden flowers expand their leaves and discover lovely beings 
or what appear to be so reposing on the leaves ; how these come 
gliding down to the front ; and how beyond them are revealed rows 
of still more lovely and celestial creatures, rising slowly on clouds, 
the whole crowned by a central fairy perched in apparent security 
on a golden sphere ! There is no hitch, no hesitation. We wonder 
and are dazzled. All this is contrived by the counterweights. A 
long platform, the whole length of the stage, is prepared, suspended 
at each end by ropes passing over pulleys, and balanced by weights. 
At rehearsal the young ladies are placed on the platform, and suffi- 
cient weights are added until the whole is balanced nicely. Then a 
single workman can wind them up or down. The young ladies 
who appear to be floating in the air or reclining on clouds or 
branches of trees, often forty or fifty feet from the ground, are 
strapped securely to what are called the irons long branches of 
the toughest metal. As it may be conceived, this duty requires 
a good head. But there are always plenty of volunteers for the 
post ; perhaps from a laudable desire for exhibition, which is the 
life of the stage ; for who will not say that a young lady in the 
air has a much better chance of appreciation than a young lady 
on terra firma. While making protest against the. exhibition of 
these elaborate structures on the stage, all credit must be given 
to the ingenuity of the scenic artist and his property-man. It is 
not too much to say that there is nothing that they will not put on 
the stage. The English manager is the most daring and ambitious, 
and has much of the adventure that distinguishes the British 
merchant. Parisian managers cannot come near him. But they 
indeed are hampered by regulations of police and rules of state. 
Once on a time Mr. Hollingshead disposed of his grand Christmas 
pantomime or spectacle to the management of one of the great 
Paris houses, and went over himself to aid. But he could do 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 287 

nothing. When he gave orders for lights, &c., to bring out the 
effect, he was stopped at once. It was against a police regulation : 
for a fixed number of lights behind the scenes there must be a 
certain number of firemen. Hence to produce a glittering scene 
such as we have in the 'Bowers of Bliss,' you must add these extra 
firemen at extra expense. 

Many will recall the ghost scene in the 'Corsican Brothers,' 
which so vividly impressed the public from its mysterious effect. 
One of the brothers is writing at his table ; it is midnight ; the 
other brother is seen in his bloodstained shirt, gliding along 
towards him in a slow flesh-creeping style. As he moves along 
he rises, the head only being visible at first. He seemed to pass 
through the ground, yet there was nothing of the trap-door or 
other contrivance. It was contrived in this way. An inclined 
plane, on which were rails, ran underneath the stage through its 
whole length. On this travelled a little carriage which was 
drawn slowly up by a windlass. There was a slit in the stage 
through its whole length, in which were flexible boards made like 
the shutters used for shop windows, one of these being in front, 
the other behind the actor. The one in front was drawn away as 
he advanced, and was rolled up on a cylinder ; the one behind him 
advanced as he moved on, and was unrolled from another cylinder. 
The ingenious feature was that all these unravellings, windings- 
up, &c., were performed by a single windlass, so that all moved 
harmoniously together. The greatest care had to be taken to 
keep all free and smooth, as the slightest hitch would imperil 
all ; for, as we know, there is but one step between the sublime 
and the ridiculous. 

There was a wonderful effect produced in the opera of the 
* Africaine ' in Paris, when the whole stage represented the deck 
of a huge vessel, and the audience saw it rise and fall as if at sea. 
This was contrived by balancing the central position only of the 
stage on a pivot for by means of nicely arranged weights this 
segment could be swung up and down in a see-saw sort of style, 
and the eye, being deceived, imagined that the whole stage was 
moving. Ships are often brought on the stage, and with effect, 
though sometimes they are ludicrous failures. 

Some years ago there was a play by the late Mr. Eobertson, 
in which was represented the going down of the ' Birkenhead,' 
when the soldiers so gallantly kept their discipline and went down 
with the vessel. The scene disclosed a vessel as she appeared 



288 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

sailing, with the blue waves about her, a man at the wheel, while 
a marine walked up and down on guard. As the whole vessel 
was shown and the stage was a small one, it might be calculated 
that this transport, with its seven or eight hundred men below, 
was some fifteen feet long, about the size of a fishing-boat ! How- 
ever, as the vessel struck the rock a sound produced by springing 
a rattle and a stroke of the big drum at least half a dozen soldiers 
stood to arms in their ranks on the contracted deck, and at the 
signal were let down slowly through the open trap to their watery 
grave! 

This loading of the stage with heavy, built-up structures really 
affects the action, for the scene* can only be changed once in the 
act. Very different from the old days, when there were often four 
or five scenes in an act. The author has latterly found himself 
cramped and fettered, and the audience cries out against the 
monotony. Of course there is the old resource of ' the carpenter's 
scene.' Within the last few years some genius has discovered a 
remedy worse than the disease. We see the stage set out with 
huge erections say, a practicable house at one side, with the 
interior of a room in which the respectable city man has just 
been writing his will before being murdered by his wicked nephew ; 
a garden wall in front ; trees and a gate at the other side. Sud- 
denly we hear the scene-shifter's whistle ; a sound of rumbling and 
wheeling of castors begins ; the house begins to move, and, won- 
derful to relate, turns round on its axis ; the wall opens and wheels 
away right and left, the trees revolve bodily ; the whole scene, 
as it were, turns inside out, and now reveals a drawing-room 
in a palatial mansion in London ; all which is attended by a 
screamings, rumblings, and groanings. This was carried to its 
extreme in Miss Anderson's revival of ' Eomeo and Juliet,' some- 
times with grotesque effect, as in a fine Italian chamber where 
there was a beautiful Venetian four-post bed. Juliet had said in 
witching tones, * It is the lark,' and Eomeo had just let himself 
down from the window. All the romance and exquisite poetry of 
Shakespeare was in the air at the moment, when, lo ! the walls 
began to shake, portions of the room to revolve, and, wonderful 
to relate, the four-poster itself swung slowly round, its feet lifted 
in the air ! This wonderful four-poster became a fountain on the 
spot in the next scene. 

These sudden pantomimic changes destroy all illusion. At 
the Lyceum, however, the lights are invariably lowered, and the 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 289 

change takes place in a mystery. At another theatre there was a 
scene of an outcast mother, on a snowy night, seated on a doorstep, 
with her child of course. It was the snow-covered doorstep of one 
who ought to have shielded and given her shelter. Her piteous 
case moved the house, especially when she rose from the doorstep 
to seek the fatal river outside. When the scene was about to 
change, what would become of the doorstep ? It could not be left 
behind, or be carried away by men, or rise in the air. With a 
loud and sudden flap, the doorsteps ingeniously shut up like a 
Venetian blind, and then the door moved off to the side ! It need 
not be said there was much merriment at this feat, and the 
gymnastic doorstep put the sufferings of the lady out of all heads. 

One of the most ambitious and striking scenic effects ever dis- 
played was in Tennyson's romantic play of the * Cup.' In the 
second act was shown the interior of a temple formed with rows 
cf large pillars its pediments all real and practicable. The 
actual building up of this structure between the acts at the 
Lyceum was a most wonderful display of ingenuity, energy, and 
organisation. The instant the drop-scene fell, a crowd of men 
some thirty or forty rushed on the stage, each carrying a pillar, 
an altar, steps, when from the roof came, descending by ropes, all 
the upper portions of the temple, which hung there till their 
supports were ready. In ten or twelve minutes, under the intel- 
ligent command of their stage manager, Mr. Loveday, everything 
was in order. The pillars were made of paper or papier-mache 
a common material now on account of its lightness and in this 
fashion : the pillar was modelled in clay, with raised figures and 
other designs ; on this was pasted sheets of brown paper, which 
follow the relief exactly until the proper thickness is reached. 
Huge trunks of trees, full of knots and branches, can all be repre- 
sented in this convenient way. The modelling of the figures of 
the classical gods and goddesses, all in admirable relief, was all 
done by the common property-man of the theatre. Mr. Knowles, 
the editor of the ' Nineteenth Century,' who is also an architect, 
designed this temple and all its details. When Mr. Wilson Barrett 
revived * Hamlet,' Mr. Godwin, an experienced and accomplished 
architect, was called in to direct the erection of the buildings that 
filled the stage. Thus, if we have buildings on the stage, it is as 
well to have a regular architect to see that all is done correctly. 

The monstrous masks we see in the pantomimes at Christmas, 
very clever in their grotesque expression, are modelled by the 



290 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

property-man in clay. He has a looking-glass before him, and 
twists his own features into some fantastic expression. When 
the model is finished boys paste on the layers of brown-paper, 
which the painter colours. 

Let us next turn to the various mechanical phenomena of 
social life that are exhibited on the stage. The French have a 
proverb that * Nothing is sacred to a sapper,' but there is nothing 
that your stage carpenters cannot grapple with and mimic. 
Earthquakes, storms, thunderbolts, fires, waterfalls, animals, 
steam-engines, ships, &c, he is ready for them all, and on the 
whole succeeds wonderfully. How is the roll of thunder con- 
trived ? Formerly a large sheet of iron, hung up at the wing, 
was rattled noisily ; it sounds exactly as one would expect it 
would, that is, as unlike thunder as possible, and very like striking 
a tea-tray. But there is ' another way,' as Mrs. Glasse would have 
it, more terrible and effective. In the larger theatres the pro- 
perty-room is placed over the audience. Here is wheeled along a 
sort of truck laden with round shot, which tilts over on a hinge, 
and sends the balls tumbling over each other, to be followed by a 
hollow sound as they roll over the floor. 

For lightning a long tin tube with a spirit-lamp is used. A 
powder is then blown through, which takes fire as it passes by the 
spirit and gives out a vivid flash. The most effective, though 
most troublesome, mode is to cut out of the scene zigzag strips in 
imitation of forked lightning ; these are covered with varnished 
calico and painted. 

Rain is imitated by the rolling of peas in a long tube ; wind, 
by revolving a roller against a rough cloth. These are not quite 
as impressive as they might be. The most absurd attempt at 
illusion, and which is still retained at first-rate theatres, is the 
attempt to represent any crash, such as the breaking open of a 
door, or falling downstairs. Tradition requires that this should 
be invariably done by springing a rattle accompanied by a loud 
stroke of the drum, with perhaps a heap of broken glass emptied 
from a basin. Anything more absurd cannot be imagined, 
especially the rattle portion. 

There have been some wonderful stage conflagrations of late 
years in various melodramas, such as 'The Streets of London,' 
but Mr. Fechter, I believe, was the first to give a good fire. We 
see the gloomy house where the villain lives and is concealed, 
and where the innocent and persecuted maiden has been secretly 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 291 

immured. Suddenly smoke is seen issuing, then sparks ; the 
alarm is given, crowds rush in, police, fire-escapes, and finally 
a real engine of the ' brigade,' drawn by real horses, dashes up at 
full gallop. The persecuted maiden appears at the window ; the 
lover seizes her in his arms and descends in shouts of triumph. 
Meanwhile the walls fall, beams tumble down, the villain is seen 
consuming slowly, the conflagration glows, and old people in the 
stalls rise nervously, and say, * This is really carrying the thing 
too far.' 

Yet only let us go behind the scenes, and, wonder of wonders ! 
all is calm, quiet ; no flames to speak of, and no danger whatever. 
Nothing is more simple than the agency employed. The ordinary 
limelight turned on to the full suffused the stage in a flood of 
light, while crimson glasses are used, which impart a fierce glow 
of the same tint. Any vapour of the whitest kind moving in such 
a medium would at once give the notion of volumes of lurid 
smoke. Accordingly, a few braziers filled with a powder known 
as * lycopodium ' are placed at the wings, fitted with a sort of 
forge bellows, each blast producing a little flame and smoke. 
The lights in front being lowered, rows of little jets, duly 
screened, are made to follow the lines of the beams, rafters, &c., 
and thus make these edges stand out against the fierce blaze. 
The view, therefore, from behind has thus an almost prosy and 
orderly aspect ; but the effect is complete. In an instant the 
conflagration ceases, a turn of a cock extinguishes the jets, the 
bellows are 'unshipped,' and the flames disappear, the limelight 
is turned off, and the carpenters are seen busily hauling away to 
the right and left the heavy ' practicable ' rafters, &c., of the 
lately burning palace. 

Another new agent in scenic effect is the use of steam, which 
is supposed to give the vaporous effect of clouds in motion, hitherto 
attempted by gauzes and painted cloths. This was first used at 
the Munich Opera House, and is now elaborately applied in the 
Lyceum * Faust,' just produced. A regular steam-engine or gene- 
rator was fitted up under the stage or at the wings ; at the proper 
moment a number of cocks were opened, and the whole scene was 
filled with vapour. The impression was anything but favourable. 
It was impossible to prevent the hissing sounds, and though it had 
the effect of hiding the solemn half-mortal heroes of the * Nibe- 
lungen Lied,' it was said that a worthy housewife in the audience 
exclaimed in alarm, ' Bless me, if the coppers ain't a busted.' 



292 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

Making up the face, as it is called, is an art in itself ; by it 
the old can be made to look young, or at least younger, and 
the young old. By these arts the famous Dejazet, when eighty 
years old, could play successfully a young page. Formerly a 
burnt cork, a piece of chalk, and a pot of rouge was all that was 
necessary ; now your well-graced actor has his * make-up ' box, or 
dressing-case, containing stores of violet-powder, Fuller's earth, 
chrome yellow, blue, crayons, umber, cosmetic, black enamel, 
1 joining-paste,' with other unpleasant things. All have their 
purpose. Are you the hunted villain skulking from justice in the 
woods, you must rub your cheeks and chin thoroughly with thick 
blue powder, to leave the idea that you have not been able to 
shave for a week. Or should you be an aged crone or hag, a few 
blue streaks on the arms or hands suggest the well-marked veins 
of old age. To be particularly youthful and lover-like you must 
whiten your face thoroughly, rouge well up to the eyelids, and 
then draw a little brown streak under the eyes, which lends bril- 
liancy. An old man has a very disagreeable task before him. 
He must rub his cheeks and chin well with Fuller's earth ; then 
with a camel's-hair brush proceed to make three dark streaks 
between the eyes, with long lines from the nostrils to the corners 
of the mouth, then get on what is oddly called his ' white bald wig,' 
the bald portion of which is fixed to the forehead by 'joining- 
paste.' A striking additional effect is produced by giving the 
effect of teeth being wanting, which at first sight seems an 
almost impossible thing to do. But in your * make-up box ' you 
find your black enamel, with which you paint over a couple of 
teeth ; in a few minutes it sets and hardens, and a most satisfac- 
tory and disagreeable evidence of old age is the result. A mode 
of attaching whiskers was the old-fashioned one of hooking them 
on to the ears. But there is an article called ' crape hair,' which 
is gummed on to the cheeks, and when dry can be trimmed and 
combed like real whiskers. As regards the nose, there is an 
elegant way of treatment, namely, by fitting on a well-modelled 
papier-mache one ; but there is the more rough-and-ready mode 
of dealing with it. We read in one of the text-books on the 
subject the following grave directions: 'In some low-comedy 
characters, such as Bardolph, &c., it is necessary to alter the shape 
of the nose in order to give it that bloated, blotchy appearance so 
noticeable in drunkards. You must first gum on to the end of the 
nose a piece of wool, press it down to the shape and size required, 



THE SCENIC WORLt). 293 

then powder it well with rouge to match the rest of the nose and 
cheeks. The cheeks may also be enlarged in the same way. The 
other, and perhaps the better, way is to take a little powder, mix 
it with water and work it up into dough ; fix it to the nose with 
spirit gum, mould it to the shape and size required, and then 
powder it with rouge to match the cheeks, &c. Blotches, warts, 
and pimples may be made by sticking on small pieces of wool and 
colouring them either brown or red.' 

We may thus fancy our unhappy actor complete, his woollen 
nose stuck on with gum, his eyebrows and whiskers well glued 
to him, his black enamelled teeth, his cheeks plastered with 
rouge, white, and umber, his * bald wig ' fastened to his forehead 
with * joining-paste,' and we may wonder indeed how he can find 
spirit or even ease to utter his words ! 

The old super, as he was contemptuously called, was an unhappy 
creature enough, receiving a shilling a night for carrying a banner, 
wearing a monstrous mask, or doing duty as the army. Now he 
is on a much better footing : for intelligence is needed, and he 
is required to act. In this view soldiers of the Guards are now 
regularly employed. In a late popular piece called * In the 
Ranks,' where the hero enlists and deserts, a party of the Grena- 
diers attended every night for more than a year to arrest, over- 
power, and otherwise treat severely Mr. Charles Warner, being, 
moreover, hooted every night by a sympathetic gallery. As 
military duty was not to be interfered with, a contract was made 
with the Sergeant-Major, who supplied a fixed number of men 
every night who had gone through rehearsal, and who were 
always ready when their comrades were on duty. For a new 
naval piece at the Adelphi, a hundred men of the Naval Reserve 
were in training. Soldiers, from their drilling and habits of 
obedience, are found to make admirable supers. 

All these adjuncts to the scene ' inflame consumedly ' the cost 
of producing pieces. 'Michael Strogoff' in Paris cost no less 
than 18,0001. , and the very blacking of the faces in an Indian 
piece cost 51. a night. Mr. Irving is said to have given 500/. for 
a peal of bells, to be rung in his new piece. What wonderful 
salaries the poor despised player now gets and has got ; one lady 
receives 501. a week, and a favourite comedian 80., while the 
average competent player will take less 251. or 301. 

The truth is, the more show and splendour is cultivated, the 
more acting, which some foolish, old-fashioned people think to be 



294 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

the real entertainment of the stage, decays. It is overpowered 
by the lights, scenery, rich dressing, and shows. All this, besides, 
spells bankruptcy. Let us hope for a speedy return to the pure, 
unalloyed delights of simple acting, with a well -painted cloth at 
the back, and handsome but not unobtrusive dresses. As good 
wine needs no bush, so a good play needs none of these adorn- 
ments. 

Of late days there has grown up this eagerness to secure free 
admission and see for nothing what is really one of the most 
expensive forms of entertainment. This craving has spread 
enormously, and all sorts and conditions of men, and women too, 
seem to devote a portion of their lives to order-hunting. Unfor- 
tunately, too many managers who have been saddled with a bad 
piece cannot afford to have empty stalls. On such occasions they 
welcome such visitors, but the appetite of the latter grows by 
what it feeds on, and the person who has once tasted of an order 
becomes like the dipsomaniac and habitual drinker, to pay money 
becomes intolerable. Mr. Dickens, in one of his happiest 
speeches, humorously describes this extraordinary mania. < I was 
once,' he said, ' present at a social discussion, which originated by 
chance. The subject was, " What was the most absorbing and 
longest-lived passion in the human breast ? What was the pas- 
sion so powerful that it would almost induce the generous to be 
mean, the careless to be cautious, the guileless to be deeply 
designing, and the dove to emulate the serpent ? " A daily 
editor of vast experience and great acuteness, who was one of the 
company, considerably surprised us by saying with the greatest 
confidence that the passion in question was the passion of getting 
orders for the play. 

1 There had recently been a terrible shipwreck, and very few of 
the surviving sailors had escaped in an open boat. One of these 
on making land came straight to London, and straight to the 
newspaper-office, with his story of how he had seen the ship go 
down before his eyes. That young man had witnessed the most 
terrible contention between the powers of fire and water for the 
destruction of that ship and of every one on board. He had 
rowed away among the floating, dying, and the sinking dead. 
He had floated by day, and he had frozen by night, with no 
shelter and no food, and, as he told this dismal tale, he rolled his 
haggard eyes about the room. When he had finished, and the 
tale had been noted down from his lips, he was cheered, and 



THE SCENIC WORLD. 295 

refreshed, and soothed, and asked if anything could be done for 
him. Even within him that master-passion was so strong that 
he immediately replied he should like an order for the play.' 

One of the best anecdotes connected with orders is connected 
with the management of Charles Mathews. During that disas- 
trous period no one had so much need of them, but he sometimes 
capriciously took no notice of the applications for stalls. A friend 
who had thus applied reproached him. ' Perhaps,' said Mathews, 

* you did not enclose a stamp with your envelope ? ' 'I did,' said 
the other, ' I always do.' * Well,' said the debonnaire Charles, 

* go on doing it, for they are often useful.' This was quite in the 
best vein of comedy. 

Many, no doubt, have been surprised at the clockwork regu- 
larity which attends the entrance of every player. Dozens of 
times through the course of a long night each appears at his 
proper moment, and this, too, often for hundreds of nights. All 
this is in the hands of a single man, the prompter the person, 
as Sheridan remarked at an amateur play, that he liked the best 
because * least seen and most heard.' His slave is a little familiar 
call-boy. The players are all laughing and talking in the green- 
room, and do not give a thought to the stage. A minute or 
two before the leading lady is wanted, the prompter's eye falls 
on a warning note in his book ; he gives the name to his little 
familiar, who at the next moment is at the green-room door pro- 
claiming shrilly, ' Miss Four Stars,' with the place of entrance, 

* O.P '., or * P.S '., or < C.' Neither has the performer to burden 
his mind with the thought of the various little articles wanted for 
the scene the letters, bag, basket, ring, snuff-box, &c., are all 
handed to him as he goes on. There are often amusing mistakes 
owing to carelessness, when the actor finds he has forgotten to 
provide himself with the genuine will, to confound the villain 
who has just produced the forged one. The clever actor cultivates 
this readiness of resource so as to carry off any little contretemps 
or delay with some pleasant impromptu. Some years ago an 
author, who was behind the scenes, was making himself agreeable 
to a leading actress, seated at a table in the centre of the stage 
ready for the curtain to rise. By some accident the usual warn- 
ing was forgotten, and of a sudden up rose the curtain. Our 
friend, instead of rushing away in a panic, made a profound bow 
to the lady, and saying, ' Madam, I shall give your message to 
the Marquis,' withdrew slowly. It was not till the end of the 



296 THE SCENIC WORLD. 

play that one or two bethought themselves of this Marquis who 
never appeared, who in fact was not in the play. Mr. Dickens 
used to tell of an actor whom he had seen at a country theatre, 
and who having forgotten his part could get no attention from the 
prompter. Shaking his head tragically, he said, ' I will return 
anon,' then stalked away to refresh his memory. No one had 
a keener appreciation of all the humours of the stage. 

One of the great perplexities for managers has been to secure 
themselves against robbery of their receipts. The money-taker 
and the ticket-taker have often entered into a league : the ticket- 
taker brings back the tickets issued, which are issued again, and 
thus there is no check. In the days of Garrick there was an 
official known as ' the numberer,' who had a box of his own at the 
side of the house, and at different periods of the night counted the 
house. The free tickets being deducted, a rough estimate was 
thus obtained of those who had paid. An ingenious American 
invention has been introduced into Drury Lane and the Lyceum 
Theatres, and has long made fraud impossible. The principle 
is that no ticket can be issued without passing through a little 
machine which registers the number much as a turnstile does. 
The pigeonhole where the money is taken is made too small to 
allow the ticket to pass through the money-taker turns a handle 
and a metal ticket is dropped under the hand of the payer. 
There is, in short, no way of giving a ticket save through 
the agency of this machine, which, as I say, registers. At the 
Princess's another American system has been introduced to save 
the trouble and confusion of booking places. The tickets are 
made exactly like railway-tickets, each with its own date and 
number of place, fitted also into little compartments. The cus- 
tomer asks for a particular seat on a particular day, this is handed 
to him, and the transaction is complete. 



297 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

HE who has formed his estimate of Essex scenery by what he has 
seen on the north bank of the Thames between London and the 
sea has formed an unjust unjust because imperfect opinion of 
its quality. Essex is by no means all marsh and unreclaimed 
fens, treeless, flat, watery an English Holland. Few counties 
can rival it in the beauty of its villages, composed of timber and 
plaster cottages, the plaster skilfully and effectively worked over 
into patterns by combs, roofed with tiles of russet brown. The 
churches are built of brick or of unbaked clay-cobbles, round 
nodes of indurated clay found lying dispersed in the mud and 
now collected to be burnt to make cement. 

The small towns of Essex are also charming, towns of old red 
brick and tile, imbedded in elms. 

One of the most delightful of these old Essex towns is Dead- 
leigh, in the shallow valley of the Stour. It consists of one broad 
street of old houses, some plaster and timber, with acute gables 
towards the street, and odd bay windows, snuggeries to sit in, 
thrust out at the corners, and of brick mansions erected between 
the reigns of Queen Anne and George IV. none later ; of a 
stone church with stately tower, dignified, encrusted with mural 
tablets telling of a past when Deadleigh was a place where family 
and fashion congregated ; of an assembly-room with Doric portico, 
now turned into a furniture-dealer's lumber-room ; and of a red 
brick grammar school, with moulded brick pediments and cor- 
nices and windows, most picturesque, and a cricket-ground behind 
shadowed by giant elms as ancient as the ancient school. 

Very little traffic passes now through Deadleigh, since the 
Great Eastern Railway has passed it by contemptuously, without 
according it even a Deadleigh Road station, and, cruellest cut of all, 
Mr. Keith Johnston has not admitted the existence of such a town 
into his Royal Atlas, though Deadleigh once returned a member, 
and still numbers a population of two thousand souls. 

Deadleigh is a Herculaneum of old English life. The old 
English tavern is there, the ' Rose and Crown.' The mansions 
are there, delightfully dignified and respectable, wherein lived 
gentle families more or less remotely allied to the country people, 

VOL. VI. NO. 33, N. S. 14 



298 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

and accepted by these latter as belonging to the same order of 
mammals. In the church are still the dear old pews in whose 
corners one can snuggle and sleep away a hot Sunday morning as 
in the days of one's childhood. May the hand of that devastator 
of old associations, old beauties the Restorer never fall on 
Deadleigh Church. In the grammar school, let us believe, the 
boys still learn out of the ' Eton Latin Grammar,' and repeat * As 
in praesenti ' as in the olden time. 

Deadleigh lies, as already said, in the valley of the Stour. It 
is imbedded in gentlemen's seats, the parks close around it, as a 
rich green velvet mantle, clothing it at once with beauty and with 
respectability. Only towards* the east does this velvet mantle 
fall away, to disclose a garment of many colours, for the valley of 
the Stour is favoured by flower-seed growers. From May to July 
it is a glorious sight, a carpet of nemophyla, stock, phlox, pansy, 
verbena, lychnis, escholzia, gilly-flower, heliotrope no, there is 
no cataloguing the variety of bloom and colour and fragrance 
of this rainbow-clad valley. Go and see it. Run down from 
town by an early train some morning in June, when the sun is 
shining and the dew is sparkling, and you will carry away with 
you into after years the reminiscence of one of the most delight- 
ful jaunts you have made. When you are tired of the flowers 
and the old red-brick houses, wander in the lanes, and you will 
light on subjects which Constable would have rejoiced to paint 
nay, which he did paint, for was not this Stour valley his 
native cradle, and is not his mill still standing, with the same 
silvery willows, the same great elms, the same blue sky overhead 
with white lumbering clouds in it, exactly as it was a hundred 
years ago ! 

A little way outside of Deadleigh stands a fine mansion of 
red brick two hundred years old ; it has a tiled roof the colour 
of roast coffee, brick and tile are stained, softened in tone, and 
mottled with yellow and grey lichens, and the house is large ; it 
consists of a main body with two wings. The wings continue the 
same range of tall windows, and are in the same axis. The rools 
are, however, a little lower than that of the central block, which 
apparently contains the state apartments. This central block has 
one enormous stack of chimneys, also of red brick, and, capri- 
ciously, the gilly-flower seed, blown by the winds from the garden, 
has taken root in the interstices between the bricks, and the old 
chimney-stack is garlanded with yellow and brown wall-flowers. 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 299 

There are chimney-stacks, inferior in size, to the wings, but no 
flowers wreath them. The reason, no doubt, is that these latter 
chimneys are used, and get too hot for roots to live in them, 
whereas the central block of chimney never gives forth smoke. 

The mansion stands well back from the road, with a lawn 
before it, and yew trees banking each side. On the side of the 
house away from the road are the gardens that stretch down to 
the river. Access to the place is obtained through a noble pair 
of hammered iron gates, or through a side wicket. 

The house had been unoccupied for a number of years except 
by a widow and her daughter, who tenanted one wing. The 
proprietor lived in London Deadleigh was too dull for his taste, 
and Deadleigh was also too dull to induce those gentlefolk seek- 
ing houses to settle there and rent the mansion. 

The widow who lived in part of the house was a person highly 
respected in Deadleigh. Her husband had been a surgeon, in 
practice there. On his death she was left with so little means 
that a subscription was raised in the neighbourhood, which reached 
a thousand pounds, and this was invested for her. She lived on 
the interest very quietly, and rent free, for she was allowed by 
the owner of the mansion to occupy one wing on condition that 
she kept the rest of the house in order, lighted fires in the 
winter, opened windows in summer, had the carpets shaken occa- 
sionally, and the window-frames painted periodically. 

Mrs. White was well-housed at no cost, and she and her 
daughter Mabel had not only the run of the mansion, but also the 
grapes from the vinery and the vegetables from the garden, and 
the fruit from the orchard, as much as they needed ; and all they 
did not want they sold, and from the receipts paid the gardener, 
and accounted to the owner for the rest. 

At last, to the alarm and grief of Mrs. White, the proprietor 
died, and, consequent on his death, the house was sold, and pur- 
chased by Mr. Corder, of Birmingham. 

Mr. Corder was, or rather had been, a button manufacturer ; 
not a maker of all kinds of buttons, but a specialist a manufac- 
turer of smoked mother-of-pearl buttons. 

For many years Mr. Corder had done badly in business, there 
had been no demand for smoked mother-of-pearl. Corduroy was 
only worn by cheap-jacks and velveteen by gamekeepers, and 
smoked mother-of-pearl buttons go with corduroy and velveteen 
as certainly as primroses and peacocks went with Lord Beaconsfield, 

142 



300 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

by inherent fitness. Now the cheap-jacks are dwindling in 
numbers, and the gamekeepers are not many, consequently the 
market for smoked mother-of-pearl buttons was sluggish, till 
by a freak of fashion a rage for wearing velveteen came over the 
English people. The gentlemen wore velveteen jackets, and the 
ladies velveteen gowns and bodies. With the velveteen came in 
smoked mother-of-pearl as a matter of course. The demand for 
buttons of this sort was great, and the factory was engaged night 
and day in turning them out, of all hues of smokiness, and all 
sheeny lustres. Mr. Corder rapidly realised a fortune, and then 
sold his business at the proper moment, before the fashion 
declined, and sold it, as though the fashion for velveteen and 
smoked mother-of-pearl buttons was as certain of maintaining its 
place as the Government of Mr. Gladstone, or as securely estab- 
lished as the Church of England. Mr. Corder was now clear of 
business, and with a very handsome fortune safely invested. He 
had an only child, a son, Mr. Charles Corder, a young gentleman 
of one-and-twenty, good-looking, better educated than his father, 
and very idle. Mr. Corder's great ambition was to have his son 
accepted by society as a real member of the order which stands 
supreme above trade. So Mr. Corder moved from Mid-England 
to Essex, away from where his antecedents were known, and 
bought the mansion-house of Deadleigh, with the intention 
of settling there, and getting his son married into one of the 
aristocratic families of the neighbourhood. To accommodate him- 
self to his new position he underwent several transformations. 
He had been accustomed to wear very shabby coats, more shabby 
trousers, and most shabby hats ; now he assumed a scrupulously 
smart, if slightly old-fashioned, habit. He had been a Dissenter 
and a Radical, he now became a Churchman and a Conservative. 

Mr. Corder had paid Deadleigh a flying visit to look at the 
house and learn something of the neighbourhood before he bought 
the place. When he came there on the completion of the pur- 
chase he was accompanied by his son. He put up for a few days 
at the ' Eose and Crown,' till he could see that all was ready for 
his reception at the house. He had engaged servants, bought a 
carriage and horses, and hoped in a month to be comfortably 
established in 'The Yews,' as his mansion was called. He had 
purchased the place with its furniture, pictures, and conservatories. 
The furniture was old-fashioned and poor, and the pictures of no 
value. When the local solicitor, who had acted as agent for the 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 301 

late owner, handed over the keys to Mr. Corder, the latter said, 
' The house is not in first-rate order. I'll have to do a lot to it.' 

* You see, sir,' said the lawyer, ' it has not been occupied for 
a long time.' 

'Now that is amazing,' observed Mr. Corder; ' a large house, 
and commodious, one would have supposed it might have let for 
at least a hundred a year.' 

' There were drawbacks.' 

' What drawbacks ? ' 

' Well, you see, in the first place, Deadleigh is some distance 
from the railway.' 

' But folks as would take " The Yews " would keep a carriage ; 
so that don't count.' 

' Then it is far from London.' 

' Not so far as Westmoreland or Cornwall ; and houses let 
there.' 

' There is no shooting.' 

' Every one don't shoot. I don't shoot.' 

* Then,' began the lawyer, and hesitated, and added tamely, 
'there may be other things.' 

'What other things?' 

' Oh, nothing, nothing,' said the solicitor, looking uncomfortable. 

' I'll tell you what,' said Mr. Corder, not observing his un- 
easiness. ' That house is full of odds and ends, and traps and 
dust. I'll begin with a pretty clean sweep.' 

The lawyer looked furtively at him, his mouth twitched, and 
he said, half seriously, half jestingly, 'You must first get rid of 
the ugly, dirty one.' 

' I don't take you,' said Mr. Corder, opening his eyes wide. ' I 
intend,' he added, ' to have a good substantial sweep.' 

' In the place of an unsubstantial sweep,' observed the solicitor, 
in a low tone. 

' Nothing imperfect, unsubstantial with me,' Mr. Corder went 
on. 'I intend to repaper, recurtain, and altogether refurnish 
the mansion, after I've had that sweep out I spoke of.' 

' The first thing is to have that sweep out.' 

' Exactly. I said so.' 

' But can you do it ? The house would have let readily before, 
only the late proprietor could not do it.' 

' Not have the sweep out ? ' 

'No.' 



302 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

* Fiddle-sticks-ends. Brooms, brushes, pails of water.' 
' No good, none at all.' 

* What do you mean ? ' 

* I mean that if the house had not been haunted the house 
would have let.' 

* Haunted ! What has that to do with my sweep out ? ' 
' It is haunted by a sweep.' 

A pause. Mr. Corder sat and stared. The agent looked 
down, half ashamed, half amused. 

* I was not told a word about this,' said the ex-mother-of-pearl 
button manufacturer. 

* We were not bound to inform you of such a matter,' said the 
solicitor. 

' I don't believe in ghosts,' exclaimed Mr. Corder, contemptu- 
ously. * Eats or bad drains is the cause of all ghost stories. 
Rats make a noise, and drains exhale poisonous vapours which 
affect the brain. Are the drains wrong ? ' 

' The drains are right it is the chimney which is wrong. 
The sweep infests the chimney.' 

' What chimney ? ' 

'The stack belonging to the state-rooms. You may have 
observed gilly-flowers grow out of it.' 

* I don't believe a word of it,' said Mr. Corder, impatiently. 
' I don't and won't believe in ghosts no educated people do give 
credence to these foolish superstitions.' 

' Exactly,' said the lawyer. * I also do not believe a word about 
the sweep, but unquestionably our domestic servants are not so 
highly educated as to be superior to vulgar terrors, and it has been 
found impossible for any one to retain their servants who has tried 
to live at " The Yews." ' 

* But who is this sweep ? What is he ? When did he live ? 
Or rather, when did he die ? ' 

'The story is not romantic, and the incident is not very 
remote. Some fi ve-and-twenty years ago, in the late proprietor's 
lifetime, an unfortunate sweep, engaged in cleaning the chimneys 
of the state-apartments, fell in the chimney. He had been to the 
top and looked out, in descending a brick gave way, it is sup- 
posed, under his foot, and he fell the whole depth of the flue 
and broke his neck or back, or both, and died an hour after. 
I remember the circumstance. After that popular superstition 
would have it that the sweep haunts the central stack of chim- 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 303 

neys, and at night is to be beard creeping up one flue and down 
another, and sometimes as falling. He is said to have been seen 
at the top of the chimney, looking out and waving his brush. 
Also, on moonlight nights, to have been observed in some of the 
state-rooms, seated on the stone fender, in a pensive attitude, 
with his head in his hand.' 

* And pray,' said Mr. Corder, with decision in his tone, ' is 
he "surrounded by phosphorescent light, and does he exhale the 
odour of brimstone ? ' 

' Oh dear no,' answered the solicitor. ' He is very black, and 
smells strongly of soot.' 

4 If the ghost had been a figure in chain-mail, or a woman 
in white, there would have been some satisfaction in having one's 
house haunted ; it would give it respectability,' mused Mr. Corder. 
'But a chimney-sweep and a chimney-sweep who only died 
t'other day. Tis vexing.' 

' Come along, Charles,' he said, after a pause, to his son, and 
rose from his chair. * We must be off and to " The Yews." How 
about these other parties, sir ? ' this to the agent. 

' You mean Mrs. White and her daughter,' answered the 
lawyer. ' Of course they leave. You have only to give them 
notice that their services will not be required, and they must 
depart. I am sorry for them. Mrs. White is an excellent lady, 
highly regarded throughout the neighbourhood, much respected 
by the county people. If, sir, you could possibly retain her in any 
capacity in the house I believe it would give general satisfaction, 
be a kindness to her, and that you would not regret it yourself; a 
more trustworthy, honourable, ladylike person I do not know. If 
you had desired a housekeeper ' 

' I do not want one,' said Mr. Corder, curtly. 

When Mr. Corder and his son were in the street, ' Charles,' 
said the t former, * we must go at once and give the old woman 
and her kid notice to quit. We'll do it as genteelly as we can, 
but we'll do it,' 

So Mr. Corder and Mr. Charles went to the wing of ' the Yews ' 
inhabited by Mrs. White. 

That portion of the house inhabited by Mrs. White was com- 
pletely cut off from the other portions. The late owner had at 
one time contemplated the conversion of the mansion into two 
residences, believing that by this means he would be better able 
to find tenants. To effect this, and to make both dwellings 



304 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

equally convenient, he had walled up doors communicating 
between the parts of the house in such manner as to give one of 
the state-rooms on each floor to each tenement. Thus, the part 
occupied by Mrs. White had a large and handsome room on the 
ground floor, and another on the first floor, and the same with the 
wing occupied at present by Mr. Corder and his son. 

That gentleman when admitted was surprised and impressed 
by Mrs. White ; he found ' the old woman,' as he had designated 
her, to be a lady with a sweet face, middle-aged, but well- 
preserved, with the manners of cultivated society. Mr. Charles 
Corder was not less surprised by * the kid ' Miss Mabel White a 
very pretty girl of eighteen, ^self-possessed, and with plenty of 
conversation. 

Mr. Corder at once felt that his position was difficult ; he was 
conscious of his social inferiority, and nervous because obliged to 
turn this charming lady and her daughter out of the house. 

He talked about the weather, about the gardens, about the 
greenhouse, about the furniture, about the neighbourhood and 
the neighbours; incidentally he learned from the widow that 
there was a Baronet within five miles who had three unmarried 
daughters, and he resolved mentally that his son should marry one 
of them. 

' About what is their figure ? ' asked Mr. Corder. 
* Slim and graceful,' answered the lady. 

1 1 don't mean that,' said the ex-smoked-mother-of-pearl- 
button manufacturer. ' I mean, what is each of them worth in 
money? ' 

The widow shook her head. * Not much,' she said : ' I fear the 
family is not wealthy. If they had had more dower they would 
not have remained unmarried.' 

' So much the better,' thought Mr. Corder, ' more like to snap 
at Charlie.' 

Casually it came out that Mrs. White was related to the 
Baronet. Mr. Corder felt abashed and awed when he learned this. 
"The conversation turned on the ghostly sweep, and Mrs. 
White said, ' Neither Mabel nor I have been inconvenienced by 
him personally. Of course we do not believe in his existence, and 
we have neither seen nor heard him. True,' she added, ' we never 
enter the state-rooms at night, because we do not occupy them. 
This wing suffices us, and two ladies do not need more than a 
snuggery.' After a pause, she said, nervously, and with a smile 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 305 

to conceal her trepidation, * But I suppose we shall now have to 
vacate our lodging we cannot, of course, expect 

' Let us not speak of business to-day, ma'am,' said Mr. Corder, 
politely. 'I have no doubt for a while I shall be obliged to 
trouble you for advice and information about the place and people, 
which will be valuable to me as a stranger.' 

' Is Mrs. Corder likely to arrive soon ? ' asked the widow, 
'timorously. 

* There is no Mrs. Corder,' said he in reply. ' She left this 
world of woe fifteen years ago, when Charles, was a Bobby.' 

( When your son was a baby,' corrected Mrs. White. 

' Quite so. I said so,' answered Mr. Corder, with a little colour 
in his temples. He was aware that he had pronounced his word 
wrong. 

Whilst his father was talking to the widow, Charles was occu- 
pied with the daughter, and found himself gradually drawing his 
chair nearer to her till they were discussing the spectral sweep in 
a low tone actually tete-a-tete. 

When the two gentlemen left Charles Corder said to ' his 
father, ' So I suppose you have given them notice to quit ? ' 

Mr. Corder grunted. 

' It seems almost a pity,' said Charles. ' They are very nice 
people, and might really be of use to you in the house.' 

Mr. Corder growled. ' Look here, Charles ! The girl is good- 
looking, and you are taken with her pretty face. That is the 
plain English. It won't do. I'll have no Miss-alliances in my 
family. Charlie, there is a noble Baronet within five miles who 
has three Baronetical daughters. You must marry one of them. 
I have made up my mind. I allow you free choice among the 
three, but sure as buttons is buttons one of them it shall be, or I 
will leave my fortune to the Orthopedic Hospital.' 

Next day, after dinner, Mr. Corder said to his son, ' Charles, I 
made a mistake yesterday. I forgot to inquire the ages, names, 
and temperaments of the Baronetical daughters. I think I'll just 
step over and ask particulars of Mrs. White.' 

' Pray don't exert yourself,' said Mr. Charles, starting to his 
feet, ' I will run across and ascertain.' 

' On no account,' answered Mr. Corder, reddening with anger. 
' I see what it is you want to have another look into the blue 
eyes of Miss Mabel. But I won't have it. The sooner these 
people turn out the better. I'll go and expedite matters, quicken 

145 



306 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

their exit, and at the same time learn the ages and sexes of the 
Baronet's daughters, one of whom is to be Mrs. Charles.' The old 
gentleman was excited, and did not consider his words. ' If the 
eldest be cutting her teeth, and the youngest still in long clothes, 
then of course I do not press the marriage ; but take care. The 
Orthopedic Hospital may straighten all the feet in Christendom 
with my money if you take a step against my will.' 

The old gentleman was absent quite an hour. When he 
returned he said, ' The eldest is Mary, aged five-and-twenty ; the 
second, Susan, is twenty-one, and the third, Triphasna, is only 
nineteen. You may take your choice, but sure as buttons is 
buttons one it shall be.' 

Next day, in the afternoon, Mr. Corder said to his son, 
' Charles, I wonder what is the depth of our well, and also whether 
the water is absolutely pure. I am no water-drinker myself, but 
I do feel myself morally bound to ascertain that the homely 
beverage of my domestics is free from zymotic germs.' As he 
used these last words he looked timidly at his son. He was not 
sure that he understood them himself, but they sounded well. 

' Hallo ! father ! ' exclaimed the young man, removing his 
cigar from his lips and staring at him. 

' And,' continued Mr. Corder, ' I think I will step across to 
Mrs. White and inquire. One cannot be too scrupulous, you 
know. Water is ascertained to be the vehicle for the conveyance 
of disease.' 

' You seem mighty ready to hop over to Mrs. White's, father,' 
remarked the young man. 

Mr. Corder grew red in his wrath. * Charles, I do not like 
that expression " hopping over " ; it is disrespectful. Besides, the 
implication in your words is distasteful to me.' 

After that Mr. Corder was careful not to inform his son when 
he was desirous of consulting Mrs. White. 

1 Governor,' said Charles, a few days later, * it is mean of you 
to go so frequently to the East Wing and not allow me to visit 
there.' 

* I don't go frequently,' answered Mr. Corder, indignantly. 
Mr. Charles whistled. 

* Charles,' said his father, bridling up, * you are wanting in 
respect. I am your parent. You forget that.' 

After this, however, Mr. Corder discontinued his calls on Mrs. 
White. He was well aware that his son watched him, and he 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 307 

watched Charles, as he was determined not to allow him to form 
an attachment for Miss Mabel. 

Now the Corders began to experience the inconvenience of 
inhabiting a haunted house. The servants were in a condition of 
chronic terror. The maids screamed at the sight of their own 
shadows, mistaking them for apparitions of the Deadleigh Sweep. 
The fall of an extinguisher on the stairs sent the cook into fits, 
and the rats blanched the cheeks of the man-servant. 

4 I'll tell you what, Governor,' said Charles one evening, * I'll 
take a revolver and sit up all night in the upper state drawing- 
room, and if I see the shadow of a sweep I'll shoot it.' 

' Stuff and fiddlesticks,' said his father. l You shall do nothing 
of the kind ; the maids are scared enough already without your 
driving them mad with fear.' 

' You have seen and heard nothing, Governor ? ' 

* Nothing. Nor you, I suppose ? ' 

1 Nothing, absolutely nothing. You don't believe in ghosts, 
do you, Gov. ? ' 

( No, Charles, I do not. Nevertheless, I think it possible that 
under certain contingencies a spirit might revisit a spot where a 
premature death had severed its connection with the body, there 
to lament the accident. You do not believe in ghosts, do you, 
Charles ? ' 

' Certainly not, father. Nevertheless, I do not think it would 
be right in me to deny what so many worthy persons assert on the 
evidence of their senses to be fact. It would be presumptuous 
in me.' 

1 Let us go to bed,' said Mr. Corder, hastily. 

Mr. Corder and his son, though neither believed in ghosts, 
and both scouted the idea of the house being haunted by a 
chimney-sweep, were wont to retire to bed very much earlier at 
* The Yews ' than had been their custom elsewhere. Midnight 
never found them together downstairs, smoking and drinking 
whiskey-and-water, with the great dark staircase to ascend to their 
several, rooms. 

One evening after dinner, when father and son were sitting 
together over their wine, Mr. Corder said, * Charles, what a wonder- 
ful work of genius that " Enquire Within for Everything " is. I 
find it an inexhaustible treasury of information. We must re- 
furnish here, and I took the book down to get an idea out of it, 
and sure as buttons is buttons there I find instructions how to 



308 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

choose a tasteful carpet. Why, Charlie, that book contains some- 
thing of all kinds. I find there receipts for the kitchen, and 
remedies for scalds, legal information, hints as to etiquette, rules 
for carving hares, and soles, and poultry, and for light reading, 
even poetry. At least I've come on one piece, but I can't make it 
out poetry, too, by the noble Lord Poet Byron : 

'Twas whispered in heaven, 'twas muttered in hell, 
And echo caught faintly the sound as it fell : 
On the confines of earth 't was permitted to rest, 
And the depths of the ocean its presence confessed. 

So it goes on, Charlie, and it means the letter H. Now the book 
says that it is a very important thing for gentlefolks to know 
when to sound that letter and when to drop it. That is an art 
I never could discover. Can you see what the noble poet means 
when he says that it was whispered in heaven and muttered in 
hell ? The noble poet never meant to consign to a certain place 
those who omitted their aspirates ; he had a liberal education, 
and could not have been so intolerant. I cannot understand him ; 
but I assure you, Charlie, I lie in bed of a night tossing on my 
pillow, saying Ouse, and Orse, and House, and Horse, and, upon 
my word, I get so bewildered I don't know what is right and what 
is wrong. I never shall learn without a teacher, and I should be 
ashamed to appear among tip-top gentlefolks and make myself 
ridiculous with my aspirates. I wish I could find some one who 
would just put me on the right rails.' 

' Don't you think, father, you might consult Mrs. White ? ' 
Mr. Corder coloured. * I see through you, Charlie,' he said. 
' You want to force on an acquaintance with our neighbours, so 
as to get intimate with Miss Mabel. But I won't have it. You 
marry one of the Baronetical females, or sure as buttons is buttons 
I'll endow the Orthopedic Hospital. It is time for you to go to 
bed, Charles. Good-night. You will find your candle in the hall.' 
Mr. Charles Corder dutifully departed, and retired to his room, 
where he divested himself of his clothes, though the hour was 
only half-past nine. He did not, however, retire between the 
sheets, but he redressed himself in a suit of tight-fitting black, 
rusty, sooty black, put a black cap on his head, with a fall of black 
gauze to it, which he drew over his face, giving his face a grimy 
sweep-like appearance. He drew on a pair of black gloves, then 
took from a cupboard a short black ladder and a brush, and slipped 
into the state-room qn the first floor. 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 309 

The room had a handsome large open fireplace, the chimney- 
piece of marble richly sculptured, and festoons of pears and 
peaches. Charles crept in, planted his ladder within, on the 
hearth, and proceeded to ascend the chimney. When he reached 
the summit of the ladder, which was about six feet high, he threw 
his leg across a partition or stone slab which divided the flue from 
the flue of the state-rooms of the other portion of the house a 
partition which existed only a few feet up the chimney, sufficient 
for the direction of the smoke from the respective fires. Then he 
pulled up the ladder, and put it down on the further side, and 
descended by it into the grand drawing-room on Mrs. White's 
side of the house. 

This drawing-room was thinly furnished with old white-and- 
gold chairs and tables. The long windows were without shutters, 
and the full moon poured in through uncurtained glass upon the 
polished oak floor. No one was in the room. Mr. Charles seated 
himself, with his back to the fireplace, on the marble fender, in a 
pensive attitude, leaning his chin in the hollow of his hand waiting, 
whilst with his other hand he played with his sweep's brush. 

Presently the door opened, and Miss Mabel White entered 
timidly, in a light muslin evening dress, looking very fair, pale, 
and ghostlike in the light of the moon. 

Mr. Charles Corder sprang to his feet and hastened to meet 
her, with an expression of rapture. 

' Oh, Mr. Charles ! ' said Mabel, in a faltering voice, 4 1 have 
done very wrong to inform you of the way through the chimney. 
You have been injudicious ; you showed yourself at the window 
the night before last, and the stable-boy caught sight of you, and 
is frightened out of his wits. I hear that some of the maids saw 
you on the grand staircase, and are persuaded that it is im- 
possible to stay longer in a house where a ghostly sweep is seen. 
We have done wrong, I in telling you of the way through the 
chimney, you in taking advantage of the superstitious terrors of 
the servants to obtain an interview with me unobserved.' 

* My dear Mabel,' said the young man, ' I had no other 
choice. My father is an obstinate old gorilla, and won't allow me 
to visit here, and would explode like a Fenian's black bag if he 
thought I had fallen in love with you, and if he knew we were 
engaged he would keep me out of the house, as sure as Mr. 
Bradlaugh is kept out, and endow the Orthopedic Hospital to 
spite me.' 



310 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

' But, Mr. Charles, my mother, I fancy, has her suspicions 
roused, and I would not for worlds have my dear mother know I 
was concealing anything from her. She has been about a good 
deal in the night of late, has sent me early to bed, and seems 
uneasy, as though she suspected something was going on which 
ought not to take place without her cognisance.' 

' And you dare not ask her consent ? ' 

4 No,' faltered Miss Mabel. ' She is so strictly conscientious, 
and : so prim and old-fashioned in her ideas, that I am sure she 
would consider herself bound to inform your father of everything. 
I know it is not quite right my meeting you like this every 
evening, but but it would break my heart if I were forbidden 
to see you and have a word with you. Hush ! ' 

Miss White started, trembled, and laid her finger on her lip. 
She and Charles stood breathless, for they heard a step on the 
landing near the door. 

' My mother is prowling about,' whispered Mabel. ' Oh, 
Charles, dear Charles ! do please hide. She will be coming in here 
to see that all is right. There, slip through this little concealed 
door in the corner. You will find steps descend to the state dining- 
room below, go in there and await me. I will come down to you 
when I may. I can step back now unobserved into my room.' 

She thrust her lover through an opening in the panel, which 
was not noticeable to a cursory eye ; and he found himself on a 
newel staircase of stone in the thickness of the wall. A slit in 
the side allowed a streak of moonlight to enter, and he was able 
to descend without a stumble. Charles was in his stocking soles, 
and his footfall was noiseless as that of a cat. 

At the bottom was the door into the dining-room, which was 
exactly under the drawing-room. The door was ajar, and Charles 
thrust it open with his fingers, and lightly, absolutely noiselessly, 
stepped into the grand apartment, into which, as into the room 
above, the moon poured its silvery effulgence. Charles stood 
petrified with terror. He had softly closed the door behind him, 
or he would have recoiled through it when he saw sitting in the 
moonlight, on the marble fender, with his back to the fireplace, 
in pensive attitude, head in hand, THE SWEEP. 

Charles uttered an exclamation of horror. The sweep sprang 
to his feet, took a step forward, saw Charles another sweep, and 
recoiled. 

Facing each other, both in moonlight, both casting inky shadows 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 311 

on the polished floor, both sooty in garment, in face, in hand, each 
armed with a sweep's brush, stood these two for full a minute, 
silent, observant, as two duellists waiting the signal to fight. 

Each was black in hand, with black feet, black suits, black 
faced, black capped, each as spectral as the other, and each, for 
all that, casting a shadow of a consistency as substantial as the 
other. In one only point did they differ, the second Deadleigh 
Sweep was stouter in build than the first. This was not reassur- 
ing to Charles ; he had heard that the sweep who had fallen in the 
chimney was a man advanced in life, the father of seven children. 
He considered a moment : was it possible that solicitude for his 
family, left destitute, caused him to walk ? Charles resolved to 
inquire, and took a step forward. Thereupon, abruptly the other 
sweep took a step backward, and raised his brush as though to 
protect himself from a blow. The raising of the brush startled 
Charles, and he stepped back. Thereupon the other, as though 
gaining confidence, stepped forward. It really seemed as though 
each was afraid of the other, as though each heartily wished 
himself to be a phantom, so as to evaporate and escape the other. 
How long the two sweeps would have stood confronting each other, 
speechless, it is impossible to say, had not a door opened, and a 
female figure entered, with the words ' I am late, but Mabel 
would not go to bed.' 

Charles Corder looked round, and recognised Mrs. White. 
She did not at first observe him, her eyes were directed towards 
the sweep by the fireplace. 

* I am sure we have both been indiscrete,' said she, ' I in 
telling you of the way into this part of the house through the 
chimney, and you in taking advantage of the superstitious fears 
of the servants to disguise your visits to me. I can quite under- 
stand that you are shy of Charles knowing that you intend a 
change of condition, but still, sooner or later, he must know and 
Mabel is becoming suspicious, I can see. However, now I am 
ready, Hobgoblin ! let us practise the aspirate again, for I am 
resolved not to give you my hand till you can ask for it with an 
H, nor to become mistress of your house without an aspirate to it.' 
Then she seemed to observe the frozen, terrified aspect of the 
sweep, and she turned her eyes saw the second, screamed, and 
staggered against the wall. 

At that moment, also, a second door opened, and a flush of 
candlelight filled the room. Mabel appeared, holding a bedroom 



312 THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 

candlestick, with an expression of well-affected surprise in her 
face. At that moment, also, simultaneously both sweeps dis- 
appeared, one up the chimney, the other up the newel stair. 
4 Oh, mamma ! how came you here ? ' asked Mabel. 

* I I I thought I heard sounds,' answered Mrs. White, * and 
timorous though I be constitutionally, yet morally I am strong. I 
knew it was my duty to see that no one was breaking into the 
house, so I made my rounds.' 

* Did you see anything, mamma ? ' 
' Nothing, my dear, nothing.' 

' But you screamed.' 

' Yes, at your entering so unexpectedly. Did you see any- 
thing, Mabel ? ' 

* Nothing, mamma, nothing.' 

' I think, my dear,' said Mrs. White, ' that after all I did see 
something, but it was only my shadow projected by the moon- 
light against the fireplace.' 

' And I, mamma,' said Miss White, ' I admit, that I also did 
see something, but it was only my shadow, cast by the candle I 
carried in an opposite direction.' 

1 Quite so, darling ; we saw nothing but our respective shadows.' 

' Absolutely nothing else.' 

1 Let us to bed, then. I am so thankful we had false alarms.' 

Next morning Mr. Corder and his son met at breakfast. The 
father was not easy, and did not seem to enjoy the meal with his 
usual relish ; his hand shook, he upset his egg over the cloth, he 
buttered his fingers instead of his toast, and put his * Standard ' 
down on the bacon. 

' Did you go to bed directly I left, last night ? ' asked Charles, 
slyly. 

4 Pretty nigh,' answered Mr. Corder without looking up. * I 
was not very well.' 

' You had no bad dreams, I hope ? ' said Charles. * Did not 
walk in your sleep, whispering the aspirate in heaven, and mutter- 
ing it in hell, eh ? ' 

Mr. Corder moved uneasily in his chair, and spots of colour 
formed on his cheeks, he bent his face over his cup, and began to 
rake some coffee grounds out of it. 

* I also was not very well,' said Charles, * and was unable to 
sleep, so, my dear father, I made up my mind to watch for the 
ghost the Deadleigh Sweep, and lay it, if possible.' 



THE DEADLEIGH SWEEP. 313 

' Yes,' said Mr. Corder, faintly. He was still raking in his cup. 

* Well, Governor, I have discovered a way into the adjoining 
portion of the house, now walled off, through the chimney. So 
I explored all the grand rooms of both parts of the mansion in 
fact, all the four state apartments whose fireplaces open into the 
haunted chimney-stack.' 

i Well,' said the father, with a furtive glance at Charles. 

' And I made a discovery,' continued the young man. 

' Indeed ! ' Then the old gentleman upset his coffee cup so as 
to spill the contents over his nankeen waistcoat and light check 
trousers. 

' I discovered, Boss, that there are no ghosts at all, that the 
sweep is a myth. The jackdaws have built for years in the 
chimney, and the noise they make has given rise to the stories 
that circulate.' 

4 You you you saw nothing ? ' 

* Positively nothing but my own shadow. When I got into 
the room on the other side, I was scared for a moment by my own 
shadow. When I raised my hand, it lifted its hand, when I put a 
foot forward, it put one back. The moonlight was so powerful 
that my shadow had quite a substantial appearance.' 

Mr. Corder looked up with an expression of relief. ' I confess,' 
he said, * that I did hear steps last night, and was disturbed by 
them so it was you, Charles, walking ? ' 

'I I only.' 

* And you are convinced that there is no 

1 1 am positive that this house is haunted by no black spirits, 
but by angels only there are two of them, White and I think, 
father, that the wisest course for both of us" will be to secure 
their permanent abode here. If you will take upon you the 
responsibility of one, I will answer for the other.' 

Mr. Corder puffed. * Charles there are the Baronetical females.' 

' Let them remain as they are. I think, Governor, that you 
can hardly do better than whisper your aspirate in heaven with 
Mrs. White, whom I shall be happy to recognise as my mother, if 
you will consider Mabel as your daughter.' 

Mr. Corder was silent. After a while he looked up and laughed. 
' The Orthopedic Hospital will have to get on without my help,' 
he said. 

' And " The Yews," ' added Charles, ' will no more be walked by 
Deadleigh Sweeps' soto voce he added, ( pere etfils.' 



3U 



SOME SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND 
SELECTED. 

I HAVE often wondered whether anybody has ever pointed out 
how far all the best-known and most popular sea-serpents, from 
Bishop Pontoppidan's celebrated beast down to the sportive 
creature that occasionally amuses himself by appearing suddenly 
to a yacht's crew in the Inner Hebrides, are indebted for some of 
their most striking and interesting features to the two very poetical 
monsters which came across from Tenedos in the second ^Eneid 
on purpose to devour the imprudent Laocoon. I can never read 
that famous passage without seeing in it the grand archetype and 
prime original of all the various genera and species of sea-serpent 
past, present, or to come. No doubt the sea-serpent, like most 
other animals, has varied a little from time to time, and has 
been affected by the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest, 
in proportion as the credulity of the sea-serpent-observing world 
grew less and less. Still, the monsters that devoured Laocoon 
possessed in very full perfection all the * points' that ought to 
distinguish a perfectly thorough-bred and first prize sea-serpent. 
Their heads and shoulders were raised (in the most orthodox 
manner) high above the waves, while their bodies trailed behind 
upon the surface, rising up in an undulating fashion here and 
there between the foaming billows. They had a bristly mane 
upon their necks ; and it is well known that a good mane is 
highly desirable, or even absolutely indispensable, in the get-up 
of a successful sea-serpent, to this very moment. They were 
more or less blood-stained and fiery creatures ; and the original 
and only genuine mediaeval portent went so far as actually to 
belch forth flames and black wreaths of smoke from his mouth 
and nostrils. This last alarming feature, however, has been greatly 
mitigated in his modern representatives, who now don't care, 
apparently, to put themselves into competition with an ordinary 
locomotive, and so content themselves with making the sea boil, 
and spurting out foam from their unspeakable blowholes (if any). 
Altogether, the influence of the Virgilian conception, it seems to 
me, may still be distinctly traced throughout the whole family of 
existing sea-serpents, 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 315 

There are a good many theories now extant about the semi- 
mythical monster, which have been defended with varying ability 
by various learned men. Mr. P. H. Gosse was of opinion that the 
sea-serpent (if there be a sea-serpent) was a modern represent- 
ative of the otherwise extinct saurians, who enacted the part of 
whales in the teeming secondary seas. Whether any of these big 
dragons of the prime have really left any descendants or not, there 
can be no doubt at all that they were certainly very parlous mon- 
sters in their own day. Naturally, the biggest things in such 
extinct reptiles have been discovered in the Western States of 
America, which whip creation for big trees, big rivers, big fossils, 
and big fortunes. One of the most disconcerting creatures to 
meet on a yachting expedition in cretaceous seas must evidently 
have been that uncanny beast from the Colorado beds, which 
Professor Geikie soberly describes as *a huge snake-like form, 
forty feet long, with slim, arrow-shaped head on a swan-like neck, 
rising twenty feet out of the water.' According to Dr. Cope, who 
has closely studied the habits and manners of this unpleasant 
animal in his native rocks, the monster must often have swum 
several yards below the surface of the sea, only occasionally 
popping up his head for forty feet to take a breath, and then 
withdrawing it to feed forty feet below on the bottom, without once 
moving the position of his body. Such an unaccountable saurian 
as this, suddenly rearing his ' swan-like neck ' (as if he were a 
noble Anglo-Saxon lady) within a few yards of the observant 
pleasure-boat among the Inner Hebrides, would create a far greater 
impression than any that can be produced by the degenerate and 
somewhat shadowy krakens of these prosaic latter days. 

But Colorado can do even bigger things than this in the matter 
of gigantic fossils ; for Dr. Cope's other proteges, the ' pythono- 
morphic saurians,' whose name alone ought to strike terror into 
the souls of every beholder, were seventy-five feet long from the 
end of the snout to the tip of the tail, and were so very snake- 
like in form that even solemn scientific men have given them 
in all seriousness the well-worn title of sea-serpents. They were 
long and narrow in shape; their heads were big and flat; and 
their huge eyes, like those of the best and ugliest Chinese dragons, 
were directed outwards and upwards with a hideous leer. They 
had a pair of flippers, very like a whale ; and on the roof of their 
mouth they had four rows of formidable teeth, very like a snake. 
But the most snaky thing about them was their gaping jaws, 



316 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

which opened wide by a double joint, so as to allow them to 
swallow their prey whole, after the fashion of our modern cobras. 
I am not aware that any modern theorist has yet proclaimed 
the identity of the various scattered sea-serpents of our own day 
with the pythonomorphic saurian s ; but if any enterprising young 
writer cares to act upon the hint in the silly season, when the 
white elephant has gone to his own place, when Parliament has 
ceased from troubling, and reporters are at peace, he is perfectly 
welcome to accept the suggestion without further acknowledg- 
ment. 

Mr. Searles V. Wood, on the other hand, will have it that the 
sea-serpent (supposing there is % & sea-serpent) is not a reptile at 
all, of what sort soever, but a whale-like monster, belonging to the 
same group as certain extinct toothed whales who flourished (as 
the history books say) in the eocene period. The particular part, 
in fact, which they flourished most effectively, according to Mr. 
Wood, was their formidable head ; and with that they (as well as 
their hypothetical heirs, executors, or assigns, the modern sea- 
serpents) were wont to attack less warlike whales, whom they 
killed and devoured with their big teeth. These undeniable 
eocene monsters ran to about fifty or sixty feet in length, and were 
certainly provided with most carnivorous fangs, sufficient to render 
them very unpleasant contemporaries for the other whales who 
lived side by side with them. Several of the most respectable 
authorities believe that the toothed cetaceans in question were 
really (to put it plainly) big seals, caught in the very act of 
developing into thoroughgoing whales. They are, by origin, 
warm-blooded, air-breathing, terrestrial animals, which have taken 
to the habit of swimming, till at last their outer form has come 
closely to resemble that of cold-blooded, gill-bearing, egg-laying 
fish. Mr. Wood has set forth his very hypothetical views with an 
air of sober conviction which is quite charming in its simplicity, 
and has assigned the as yet undiscovered sea-serpent to the ' order 
Zeuglodontia,' almost as confidently as though he had got a speci- 
men or two of the evasive monster securely bottled for examination 
in his own private museum. On the whole, it might be better to 
follow Mrs. Glasse's admirable advice, and first catch your sea- 
serpent. 

Again, Dr. Andrew Wilson, who accepts the existence of the 
monster as proved, believes that sea-serpents are in all probability 
huge over-grown specimens of the ordinary marine snakes. In 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 317 

this belief he is followed by that learned snake-fancier, Miss 
Hopley, who stoutly urges the claims of her favourite reptiles 
(apparently on the familiar principle that there's nothing like 
leather) to be the original and only genuine sea-serpents, all 
others being spurious imitations. Very few people, probably, are 
aware that besides the Great Sea-Serpent, whose existence is so 
extremely problematical, there are a great many small sea-serpents, 
so perfectly historical that they have been duly named and classified 
with scientific minuteness. These oceanic snakes, which usually 
vary in length from two to twelve feet, are found cliiefly in the 
tropical seas of the eastern hemisphere, and especially in the 
Indian Ocean. They are very venomous, and are described by 
those who know them most intimately as ' wild and ferocious.' In 
calm weather they lie quietly upon the surface of the sea, enjoying 
th^ir after-dinner repose like the cobra at the Zoo, and saving 
themselves even the trouble of breathing by their possession of 
enormous lungs, in which (as in a tank) they store up air enough 
to last their cold blood for an indefinite period. This ingenious 
device is not the only modification they have undergone to fit 
them for their marine existence : the tail is flattened out into a 
rudder, as in fish, and the undersurface of the body is ridged into 
a keel, so as to enable them to swim more easily over the crest of 
the billows. The sea-snakes live on fish, which they poison as 
they catch, and swallow whole, head foremost. 

Now, the question is, could one of the forty-eight known 
species of sea-snakes ever attain sufficient dimensions to have 
given rise (allowance being made for human exaggeration) to the 
best recorded instances of the great sea-serpent ? Bishop Pontop- 
pidan's specimen, seen off Norway in 1740, was one of the finest 
on the record, and measured about 600 feet in length. On the 
other hand, the biggest sea-snake known to Dr. Giinther of the 
British Museum (the great authority on things reptilian) is only 
twelve feet long ; which leaves a considerable margin for the 
bishop's specimen to make up, even under the most favourable 
circumstances. Again, the very notable beast spied off Boston, 
Massachusetts, in 1819, is described with a noble and poetical 
vagueness as being * from 80 to 250 yards in length ; ' which 
reminds one of the ingenuous advertising dodge, whereby shop- 
keepers announce that a lot of goods, worth obviously on an 
average five pounds apiece, are 'from one shilling.' In 1822, a 
second sea-serpent, spied off the Norwegian coast, was again cal- 



318 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

culated at 600 feet long, which seems a suspicious reminiscence 
of the father of all 3ea-serpents seen by Pontoppidan. Captain 
Drevar's great snake, which coiled itself twice round a sperm 
whale, was of indefinite length, but as it raised its head ' some 
sixty feet perpendicularly in the air,' its total extent must have 
been pretty good for an overgrown sea-snake. 

There can be no doubt that certain kinds of animals do really 
produce at times abnormally large individuals ; and this is particu- 
larly the case with fish and reptiles, where the size of the different 
adults always varies greatly with varying circumstances. Every- 
body knows that a full-grown trout may be almost any size, big or 
little ; while as for pike, Mr. Fijmk Buckland records the biggest 
he ever saw as being no less that 3 feet 10^ inches long. Still, 
the amount of lee- way that a twelve-foot sea-snake has to bring 
up before it reaches the 600 feet of the Norwegian specimens, 
or the 750 of the Boston champion monster, is really too 
immense to be readily granted by sober reasoning. Moreover, 
it is a curious fact that sea-serpents should be most frequently 
seen in the North, while sea-snakes are almost confined to the 
tropics. Why do the gigantic growths always come north- 
ward, to the exact spot where they may be seen by credulous 
Norwegians and wonder-loving Americans ? Is it not just a 
trifle significant that these portents are oftenest beheld by the 
superstitious Norse sailors, and the still more superstitious Celts 
of the west coast of Scotland ? According to their faith, perhaps, 
is it unto them. Where the belief in sea-serpents is strongest, 
the sea-serpent is oftenest seen. Pretty much the same thing has 
frequently been observed about ghosts, spirits, latter-day miracles, 
and most other signs and wonders. 

On the other hand, there are some undoubted sea-monsters of 
very portentous size, whose exceeding bigness has only quite lately 
come to be recognised as historical. Foremost among them may be 
reckoned the great squids, or ten-footed cuttle-fish, who differ from 
that now familiar beast, the octopus, in the possession of two very 
long arms or tentacles, besides the eight shorter feet which are 
common to the whole group. Long before the gigantic squids 
were scientifically recognised, vague stories about them were cir- 
culated among sailors, and pictures were even painted (as ex votos} 
representing huge calamaries entwining their arms and clinging 
suckers round the tall masts of a good-sized smack. An ex voto, 
however, is not exactly evidence, as anybody who has seen the 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL ANt> SELECTED. 319 

miraculous escapes in any little Italian or Provencal pilgrimage 
chapel will readily admit ; nor is even the story quoted by 
Morch from an Icelandic history, how in 1639 a ' sea spectre ' was 
cast ashore on a fiord, with a body as big as a man's, seven tail?, 
two yards long, and one long tail that ran to five fathoms. (If 
this was a squid, one arm and one tentacle must have been lost ; 
but there is much virtue in your ifs.) * The tails were crowded 
with buttons, like eyes, with a pupil and eyelid, which were gilt.' 
Truly, a most fanciful description of the suckers on the arms of a 
big calamary. 

Very recently, the big squid has become quite a respectable scien- 
tific character, and has been duly admitted to our natural histories 
under the specific titles of Architeuthis monachus and A. dux. 
When an animal comes to have a double Latin name, for genus 
and species, he may be considered as having fairly forced his way 
into good society, and attained for himself a public recognition. 
The first big calamary found in modern times, according to Dr. 
Woodward, was sighted by the French steamer Alecton, off Tene- 
riffe, in 1861. Every effort was made to secure it; but after a 
long fight, the monster got away, leaving its tail behind it, in the 
running noose of a rope. This brute was supposed to be about 
eighteen feet long, with arms of five or six feet more (still a long 
way off from the sea-serpent). But one must remember that the 
salmon that got away from one is always a far larger and heavier 
fish than any salmon one ever actually landed and weighed in the 
impartial scales of undistorted reality. Perhaps the size of the 
Alecton's squid was computed not in British feet, but in a measure of 
length equivalent to that well-known angling standard commonly 
called fisherman's weight. 

Later still, several other big cuttles were observed in various 
parts of the Atlantic. In 1871, a dead specimen was found 
floating off the Grand Bank of Newfoundland, and its jaws (almost 
the only portion easily preserved) were sent to the Smithsonian 
Institute at Washington. The body of this big calamary 
measured fifteen feet long (bigger than a hippopotamus); the 
arms were mutilated, but what remained of them was nine or ten 
feet. Four years later, some Connemara fishermen in a curragh 
(Irish for what the Welsh call a coracle, a very primitive boat, 
of wooden ribs, covered with tarpaulin) saw a large object floating 
to seaward, near the water-worn crags of Boffin Island. On pulling 
out to it, they found it was an enormous cuttle-fish, basking at 



320 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

ease on the surface of the water. Being Irishmen, and therefore 
naturally brave, the men attacked the huge uncanny brute in 
their fragile craft, and succeeded in lopping off one of his horrible 
arms. Thereupon, the cuttle turned tail in the most cowardly 
manner, and made out to sea wildly at a tremendous pace. The 
Irishmen followed him up vigorously, and at last overtook him, 
when they cut off his head and another arm. These portions 
they brought safe ashore, and they may now be seen in the Dublin 
Museum. It is a delightful thing, in all sea-serpent lore, to be 
able to point to such solid islands of undeniable fact, here and 
there, among the vast ocean of myths, surmises, estimates, and 
conjectures. The arms, which % are the short ones, measure eight 
feet long, and are as big round as a man's leg. At the same rate, 
the long tentacles ought to have been thirty feet in length. 

The honour of setting at rest all doubts as to the great squid, 
however, certainly belongs to the Eev. M. Harvey, the learned 
and accurate Newfoundland naturalist. In 1873, two fishermen 
were catching cod in Conception Bay, when they saw a shapeless 
mass floating on the water at a little distance. ' Wreck, no doubt,' 
they said to themselves ; and as fishermen are not above salvage, 
they approached close to it, and struck it with a boat-hook. In 
a second, the supposed wreck developed suddenly into a fearsome 
monster, opened its huge staring eyes ferociously with a ghastly 
roll, and snapped at the boat-hook with its huge bill or jaws. 
The men were so fascinated with terror that they could not move ; 
and before they had recovered their self-possession the creature 
was full upon them, shooting out from its head several long fleshy 
arms, and groping at the boat with them in its hideous fury. 
Only the two long tentacles succeeded in grappling it, and one of 
the men, seizing his hatchet, cut off both of them with a well- 
delivered blow. The cuttle-fish then absconded promptly, which 
goes to prove that the race, though ill-tempered and savage, is 
cowardly when wounded. Unfortunately, one of the arms was 
destroyed before its scientific interest was known ; but the other 
was brought to St. John and examined by Mr. Harvey, who found 
that the fragment alone measured nineteen feet. Professor 
Yerrill considers that the total length of the animal must have 
been about sixty feet. A very gruesome monster indeed, no 
doubt, but still by no means up to sample as a full-grown sea- 
serpent. 

Some months later, Mr. Harvey came across yet another big 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 321 

cuttle-fish. This time he was lucky enough to secure the entire 
animal, and to get it properly measured, photographed, and pre- 
served in brine. The body is eight fe.et long, and five feet round ; 
the long tentacles are twenty-four feet in length, and the short 
arms six feet apiece. Each of them has nearly a hundred suckers, 
and every sucker is provided with a living piston, by means of 
which the creature can create a vacuum the moment it touches 
its prey, and so reinforce its own powerful muscles by all the 
weight of the atmosphere and the ocean above the spot it thus 
fastens upon. * No fate could be more horrible,' says Mr. Harvey, 
'than to be entwined in the embrace of those eight clammy 
corpse-like arms, and to feel their folds creeping and gliding 
around you, and the eight hundred discs, with their cold adhesive 
touch, glueing themselves to you with a grasp which nothing 
could relax, and feeling like so many mouths devouring you at 
the same time. Slowly the horrible arms, supple as leather, 
strong as steel, and cold as death, draw their prey under the 
awful beak, and press it against the glutinous mass which forms 
the body. The cold slimy grasp paralyses the victim with terror, 
and the powerful mandibles rend and devour him alive.' Every- 
body has read the wonderfully dramatic account of a conflict with 
a huge cuttle-fish in the * Travailleurs de la Mer ' ; but even 
Victor Hugo's pieuvre would be but a pigmy beside Mr. Harvey's 
gigantic calamaries. 

Another Newfoundland clergyman, Mr. Gabriel, measured two 
still larger squids, cast ashore at Lamaline in 1870, in one of 
which the body was forty feet long, and in another forty-seven 
feet. And one of Mr. Harvey's informants measured a specimen 
which was washed up by the waves a little earlier, and found it 
to be eighty feet in length. Altogether, the cases collected by 
this able and very trustworthy naturalist conclusively prove that 
cuttle-fish of perfectly colossal size do really occur in considerable 
numbers in the North Atlantic. 

Can we conclude then, as a clever writer has lately done, that 
the giant squids are the real creatures which have given rise to 
the belief in sea-serpents ? To me at least it seems improbable. 
I can hardly believe that any one form of sea-serpent will cover 
all the various myths and observed cases. I have, rather, a modest 
theory of my own as to the true origin and development of the 
entire family, which I shall proceed to set forth in the usual 
scientific classificatory fashion. 

VOL. VI. NO. 33, N. S. 15 



322 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

There seem to be two grand divisions of the genus sea- 
serpent: firstly, those due mainly to preconceptions and super- 
stitions, and so ultimately mythical in origin ; and, secondly, 
those due mainly to observations, accurate or inaccurate, and so 
mainly genuine in origin. But no single explanation, I believe, 
will suffice to cover both kinds ; and the particular explanation of 
each particular instance must depend largely on the nature of the 
circumstances under which it was seen. Some ghosts are entirely 
fanciful or imaginary, while other ghosts have a genuine physical 
basis or substratum in a wooden stake, a sheet, and a pumpkin. 
Even so, it seems to me, some sea-serpents are purely mythical, 
while others depend for their first hint, at least, upon some real 
visible object, more or less correctly observed. 

The mythical sea-serpent, in my humble opinion, is by far the 
commoner animal of the two. His origin goes back in time to a 
very early period, when he and many other formidable dragons 
stalked abroad, unchecked and rampant, over sea and land alike. 
In the old English epic of Beowulf there is a very fine monster 
called the Fire Drake (drake being good Anglo-Saxon for a 
dragon), which guards a mysterious submarine treasure, and 
which comes out by night to slaughter the people of the royal 
hero. Beowulf himself goes forth, with his rune-covered sword, 
to battle with this relentless monster, and slays it, indeed, by his 
own strong arm, but is blasted by its fiery breath, and dies shortly 
after the fierce encounter. Now, the old literature of the North 
is full of sea-dragons of just the same type fire-breathing krakens, 
which devour ships : terrible shapes, begotten of the dread and 
mystery of the ocean, and possessing all the ordinary mythical fea- 
tures of dragon-kind. It is a very significant fact that, as we go down 
in time, the dragons and sea-serpents of each age are, as a rule, 
exactly what that particular age expected to find them. In the 
fifteenth century a dragon that didn't breathe fire would have been 
quite unworthy of notice, and a mere big marine snake, with a 
prosaic habit of lolling on the top of the water, would have been 
considered not one whit better than an ordinary whale or walrus. 
At the present day, on the other hand, the common sea-serpent 
possesses few obviously mythical features, though he has still a 
distinct tendency to retain a mane, which, in the memorable 
instance of the Dcedalus's monster, is significantly described as 
* something like the mane of a horse, or rather a bunch of sea- 
weed, washing about its back.' 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 323 

In Norway, to this day, the belief in sea-serpents is almost 
universal, and there can be little doubt that it is really a survival 
from the primitive Teutonic belief in the krakens, sea-dragons, and 
other monstrous mythical beasts. Norwegian seamen are supersti- 
tious far beyond the superstition even of ordinary sailors; their faith 
in Odin and in various other equally mythical people is something 
quite touching in the present age of criticism and agnosticism. When 
a man firmly believes beforehand that such a thing as a sea-serpent 
does really exist, and when he expects to knock up against one any 
day, quite as casually as he knocks up against a seal or a porpoise, 
it will naturally follow that whenever he sees any large unknown 
object he will immediately set it down for a sea-serpent. The 
coasts of Norway and of the Hebrides are very rough and misty ; 
even known objects loom up through their fogs with marvellous 
exaggeration ; the people are prone to belief, fanciful, and very 
unscientific : all the elements for the production of a most excel- 
lent sea-serpent exist, in short, in the most absolute perfection. 

The modern serpent is the heir-general of the ancient dragon, 
deceased. When the dragon was gathered to his fathers, he left 
most of his surviving properties and effects by will to his repre- 
sentative the serpent, as residuary legatee. Or, to put the 
matter somewhat more correctly, the dragon is not yet wholly 
extinct ; he has gradually developed into the serpent by slow and 
imperceptible changes. Many old draconian peculiarities cling 
about him even now, in his serpentine guise. The very name 
itself has a mythical ring about it ; for when a man says ' snake ' 
you know at once he means the kind of reptiles dealt in by Dr. 
Griinther and Sir Joseph Fayrer the ophidians of fact and science ; 
but when he says ' serpent ' you know he means the mysterious 
dragon-like beast who has entered largely into all myth from the 
beginning of all things. Now, the serpent, as everybody knows, 
is the father of lies : not only is he (as Falstaff would have said) 
a liar himself, but he is also a cause of lying in others. Not that 
the lying need be necessarily conscious or intentional ; by far the 
larger part of it, no doubt, is due to hasty or incorrect observation, 
distorted by terror, magnified by wonder, and rendered unduly 
definite by preconception. I regard the man who says he has 
* seen a sea-serpent ' in much the same light as I regard the man 
who says he has '.seen a ghost.' Each is applying to a real or 
supposed object, more or less hastily observed, a term which is 
mythical in origin, overlaid by superstitions and prejudices, and at 

15-2 



324 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

once too definite and too indefinite for the thing he thinks he has 
seen. Instead of merely stating facts, he is drawing an inference ; 
he is classifying his own experience side by side with certain other 
experiences and beliefs, the mass of which have come down to 
us from an eminently uncritical, myth-making, romantic age. 
Thereby he puts himself immediately out of court : his evidence 
is either inadmissible or is, at least, worth very little. 

It has always seemed to me that the scientific theorists who 
endeavour to identify the vague and shadowy outlines of that 
polymorphic and Protean shape, the sea-serpent (if shape it can 
be called that shape has none, distinguishable in member, joint, or 
limb), with the enaliosaurians* or zeuglodons of sober fact, too 
much overlook this mythological descent of the questionable 
beast from the primaeval dragon. Accustomed themselves to close 
and careful observation, rigorous examination of all possible 
sources of error, accurate weighing and measuring and comparison 
of parts, they do not readily throw themselves into the state of mind 
of people who behold a dim visible object bobbing indefinitely up 
and down upon the crests of the waves, and straightway proceed 
to envisage it with all the familiar features of the sea-serpent, as 
they have always pictured it to themselves in their own fancy. 
The myth-making mind and the scientific mind are so far apart 
from one another that it is difficult for the one to appreciate the 
other. Only those who know how easily the supernatural is found 
where it is expected can at all understand the constant appearance 
of great sea-serpents off the Scotch and Norwegian coasts. And 
in saying this I shall not be put to shame, even though next 
week a real enaliosaurian or zeuglodon or gigantic marine ophi- 
dian should be hauled ashore at Bergen or Campbelltown, and 
duly dissected and classified by Sir Eichard Owen or Professor 
Huxley. For my contention is just this, that even though such 
a beast really exists, the great sea-serpent of the dog-days is not 
he, but the lineal modern representative of the mediaeval and 
primaeval dragon. 

The second or mainly historical type of sea-serpent, I take it, 
has comparatively little in common with the mythical beast. I 
don't mean to deny, of course, that even the mythical sea-serpents 
have usually, in each individual instance, some distinct basis of 
fact ; but the fact is there merely the occasion, not the cause, of 
the entire phenomenon. The two animals, it seems to me, differ 
from one another as the spectre of the Brocken differs from the 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 325 

common domestic ghost ; as the mirage differs from the ordinary 
hysterical illusion. Sea-serpents of this type may be again sub- 
divided into two minor classes : those which have been caught or 
analysed, and those which haven't. Unfortunately, the animals 
of the former class have always turned out on closer examination 
not to be sea-serpents at all, even in the widest acceptation of the 
term; and so the burden of proof is cast entirely upon the latter. 

One of the best captured sea-serpents on record was that caught 
by the crew of the barque Aberfoyle in September 1877. This 
canny craft was cruising in the classic home of sea-serpents, off 
the Scotch coast, during the warm summer weather, when (as we 
all know) the gigantic beast loves to bask upon the surface and 
sun himself before the eyes of ladies and of knights ; and lo ! of a 
sudden, on the lee side, enter a sea-serpent, in humour debonair, 
basking and sunning himself quite according to precedent on the 
summit of the water. The gallant crew, congratulating themselves 
that they had got him this time, lowered a boat forthwith, and 
proceeded to harpoon the dubious monster with all alacrity. Alas ! 
the harpoon went right through him ; and when the Aberfoyle's 
men came to examine him in detail, he proved to be a mass of 
slime, like decaying jellyfish, some of which, when bottled, finally 
melted away into a watery consistence. Strings of porpoises, 
drifting logs, and bunches of wrack have often similarly done duty 
for a sea-serpent till hooked or closely observed ; and it is in- 
teresting to note how generally the first description of the object, 
as it appeared before the disillusion, coincides with all the popular 
ideas of the sea-serpent, one and indivisible. Especially do they 
almost all rejoice in well-developed manes ; a feature extremely 
improbable in a real marine beast, but practically indispensable in 
one form or another to dragons, wyverns, krakens, hippogryphs, 
unicorns, and other familiar denizens of the mediaeval zoological 
gardens. 

The observed but uncaught sea-serpents are harder far to deal 
with ; and in many cases it is certainly possible that they may 
have been large unknown marine animals. The two best instances 
are undoubtedly the well-known ones of the Dcedalus and the 
Osborne. In 1848, Capt. McQuhse, of the former ship, saw 
* an enormous serpent ' (note the mythical name not ' snake '), 
which passed him rapidly, with head and shoulders about four feet 
above the water, and a body some sixty feet long. In 1877, the 
officers of the Osborne, with more caution, saw ' a large marine 



326 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

animal ' off the coast of Sicily. It was in 1875 that skipper Drevar 
of the Pauline espied Jhis famous creature, which he describes in 
his affidavit by the suspicious words, "a huge serpent.' In all 
these cases, it appears pretty certain that something was seen, for 
a good many officers and men were on deck together, and it is not 
likely that they could all of them have been mistaken as to the 
main facts to which they testified. But in the very best authen- 
ticated instance, that of the Osbome, the accounts of the four 
officers who saw the object showed considerable discrepancies (due, 
of course, to hasty observation) ; and in any case, whatever the 
creature was, it was certainly not a sea-serpent, as the sea-serpent 
is generally understood. The one thing in which almost all the 
officers coincide is the statement that the very big beast had both 
fins and flippers. The captain, who calls it a ' fish,' saw it through 
a telescope, and thought it had a head like a seal. The lieutenant 
and engineer saw ' a ridge of fins '; and another officer saw a huge 
monster ' having a head about fifteen to twenty feet in length.' 
All these particulars, with others too long to mention, are decidedly 
and suspiciously whale-like. 

Now there can be little doubt that the Osborne really did see 
some very big animal, and the appearance of such an animal is in 
itself sufficiently remarkable : but it was not no, it was not the 
great sea-serpent. Nobody denies that there are many very large 
creatures in the sea ; probably, also, nobody would dogmatically 
assert that every big marine creature is already, in the ordinary 
hackneyed phrase, ' known to science.' But before any one can 
declare that the particular animal he sees is new, he must have 
seen and examined all the other animals of any thing like the same 
size that are now duly recognised by the naturalists. Just con- 
sider for a moment how many big marine monsters are actually 
known, which might be mistaken, singly or in combination, for a 
sea-serpent or other unnamed prodigy ; and then reflect what are 
the chances that every one of them has been tried and rejected in 
explanation. 

Of the whale kind alone there are a round dozen or more with 
considerable pretensions on the score of size. Besides those two 
familiar brutes, the sperm whale or cachelot (from forty to seventy 
feet long), and the Greenland whale (from fifty to sixty feet), 
there are many less popular cetaceans which distinctly deserve a 
place of honour as the Goliath s and Titans among marine mon- 
sters. The bottle-head, or beaked whale, not infrequent on the 



SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 327 

British coasts, runs to forty feet, and has a narrow serpentine 
beak ; Sowerby's whale, though smaller, is interesting -from its 
possession of a very snake-like head, which tapers at the end into 
a long snout, while its jaws are armed with two big and fang-like 
protruding tusks. Cuvier's and Van Beneden's whales seldom 
exceed twenty-four feet, but they also have extremely snaky 
forms and faces. As all these last have elevated heads, and rejoice 
in the possession of a well-marked dorsal fin, it is not impossible 
that a string of them in motion may sometimes have given rise 
to appearances like those described by the officers of the Osborne. 
They can also boast of the necessary flippers, which are a very 
unserpentine set of organs indeed. Then there is the New Zea- 
land Berardius, only four specimens of which have ever been cap- 
tured a long-headed whale, thirty feet in length, with tusks 
which it can protrude at pleasure from the side of its mouth. 
The well-known caaing whale is much smaller, rarely reaching 
twenty-five feet ; but its cylindrical tapering body, high dorsal 
fin, and long flippers admirably adapt it for masquerading in a 
body as the great sea-serpent, a trick which it is almost certainly 
known to have played ere now. The orca, that tiger of the sea, 
measures about thirty feet, but is so enormously swift in its 
movements that it can overtake and swallow alive even the rapid 
dolphins ; and Eschricht was acquainted with one which contained 
in its stomach thirteen porpoises and fourteen seals, but was un- 
fortunately choked in the brave endeavour to swallow a fifteenth. 
A white whale, or a bottle-head, pursued by a string of orcas, with 
their fins just showing above the trough of the waves, ought to 
make a very tolerable sea-serpent indeed. As the bottle-head 
leaped madly out of the water in front, the serpent would seem to 
be raising its fore part from the surface of the sea. The horn of 
the narwhal, of course, puts him quite out of the running ; but 
the hump-back whale and the rorqual the latter seventy feet 
long, and narrow in form display some fine sea -serpentine ele- 
ments of face and feature. These are but a tithe of all the various 
whales already described by naturalists ; of the fin-whales alone 
there are at least a dozen species, including the great Pacific 
sulphur-bottom (sometimes a hundred feet long), who glides with 
enormous velocity over the ocean, and is recognised at an immense 
distance by the vast jets of spray he sends up seething from his 
blow-holes at every spout. Again, there are seven known kinds 
of Mesoplodon ; and every one of all these kinds, jointly and 



328 SEA-SERPENTS, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED. 

severally, must be taken into account, before we can say that any 
particular marine monster we happen to observe is in fact a new 
species of sea-serpent. 

I will not insist upon any of the numerous other creatures, such 
as manatees, seven-foot turtles, gigantic squids, and huge swim- 
ming lizards, which m^y have gone sometimes to make up elements 
in various sea-serpents, new or old, but will content myself with a 
few true fish, quite big enough to add their mite to the general 
mystification of the ocean. One hundred and forty different kinds 
of sharks are known to Dr. Giinther, of which the blue shark 
attains twenty-five feet, and the porbeagle ten. But the huge 
carcharodon, the most formidable of all its family, reaches the 
length of forty feet ; it is strictly pelagic in its habits, and occurs 
in all tropical and sub-tropical seas. Forty feet is a fair length ; 
but the Challenger dredged up from the deep ooze of the Atlantic 
the teeth of a still larger shark, at least double that size ; and if 
the owners of these huge fangs are now extinct, they must at any 
rate have become so within a very recent period. Our own North- 
Atlantic basking shark reaches thirty feet ; and the hammerhead 
also attains an extremely creditable size. Vastest of all, however, 
is the enormous rhinodon, a gigantic shark-like fish of the Indian 
Ocean and the Pacific, which is known to exceed fifty feet, and 
is said to have arrived at as much as seventy. The tunnies and 
sun-fishes, though far smaller, may yet sometimes have helped 
in forming good sea-serpents. A long-nosed whale pursued by 
threshers has also doubtless done good service more than once in 
the same fashion. 

The final question is just this : In an ocean teeming with so 
many known animals of huge size, ought we to set down any un- 
caught specimen as a new species, on a cursory examination, under 
eminently deceptive and unsatisfactory circumstances ? And if 
we do, are we not in all probability more or less directly in- 
fluenced by surviving memories of the great extinct krakens and 
fire-breathing dragons ? Are we not, in short, trying to make a 
sea-serpent out of it ? Let us rest satisfied with our big cuttle- 
fish and huge whales and monstrous sharks for the present; and 
whenever anybody catches us an enaliosaurian or a zeuglodon or 
an immense marine snake, let us accept their new addition to 
zoology with all acclamation. Meanwhile, let us urge once more 
on all theorists, ' First catch your sea-serpent ' : then proceed to 
classify him. 






329 



THE STORY OF THE ONE PIONEER OF 
TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 

MODERN ideas of unexplored lands are limited almost entirely 
to the North and South Poles, whither costly expeditions are con- 
stantly being despatched : while in South America alone there 
are the interiors of Guiana, Brazil, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego, 
besides smaller patches of only half explored land, all calling for 
more attention than they have hitherto received. 

The whole of Brazil has indeed been explored in a superficial 
sort of way : that is to say, there are certain narrow lines of ex- 
plored land, chiefly along rivers which intersect the country ; 
but only two people from all the civilised world have ever 
penetrated beyond the coast of Tierra del Fuego, though the 
coast itself has been well surveyed, and whalers' boats frequently 
land there for water. 

One of these two pioneers is a Chilian lady who was ship- 
wrecked on the coast, and saved alive by the chief of a Fuegan 
tribe which murdered all her companions.- She was seen alive 
and happy by the other pioneer, a seaman, by name Thomas 
Thorold, who spent nearly six months in the interior of this 
strange country, and came safe home to England again. It is his 
story that I propose to tell. 

Less than six years ago an English sailing ship, homeward 
bound from Valparaiso, foundered off the west coast of Tierra del 
Fuego during the cruel, wintry month of July. The crew got into 
three boats and pulled to the shore, which was not far distant. 
After rounding a headland, they found themselves in comparatively 
smooth water, surrounded by bare, bleak hills, beneath which there 
was a broad sandy beach, which would afford them easy landing. 

But on this beach and about the foot of the hills they saw 
what above all things they dreaded the signs of the doom they 
felt must sooner or later be theirs the stunted forms of Fuegan 
natives, standing and lying about their rude huts and canoes. 

As soon as the Fuegans espied them, they crowded into their 
canoes and rowed out towards them, while their shouts brought a 
multitude of natives to the beach, where they clustered like a 
flock of vultures hovering over their prey. 



330 THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 

The Fuegans are a small race, with a dark copper-coloured 
skin. The men are mostly clad in old vests and trousers that 
they have acquired from some shipwrecked crew, or from the 
steamers passing through the straits of Magellan ; others wear 
deer or guanaco skins. The women are dressed more simply in 
a single garment resembling a poncho, made of some skin : a 
simple square, with a hole in the middle for the head. 

Their boats have none of the graceful gliding of the North 
American canoes, but are simply made of pieces of bark or wood 
clumsily tied together with fibres, and are awkwardly rowed with 
oars formed of poles with flat pieces of wood tied on to the end. 
The only manufacture in which these men the lowest type of 
humanity at all excel, is that of barbed spear-heads, which they 
make with considerable skill of an almost transparent sort of flint, 
very similar to some of the arrow-heads used by the wild Bugres 
of Brazil. These, dipped in poison and fixed on to long wooden 
shafts, become dangerous weapons for poor weary sailors to face who 
have nothing to defend themselves with but oars and stretchers. 

Before the three doomed boats were within half a mile of the 
shore, they were surrounded by seven or eight canoes crammed 
with these gibbering aborigines, before whom the sailors were 
perfectly helpless, for from a considerable distance the unerring 
spears came hurtling towards them. The miserable men tried in 
vain to parry them. One by one they dropped into the bottom 
of the boat and died in agony, as the fiery venom from the spear- 
heads coursed through their veins. 

Suddenly, when there were only two or three left untouched 
in each of the boats, one of the Fuegans, who seemed to be a 
chief among them, gave a shout that made all the others stand 
motionless, with spears poised in their hands ; and he spoke to 
them in their loud, cracked language for a minute or more : it 
seemed years to the helpless men waiting to be killed. 

At the helm of one of the boats sat the mate, Thomas Thorold, 
a tall, strong man of about thirty, towards whom the chief pointed 
several times as he was speaking. Soon he stopped shouting and 
gesticulating, and again the spears came whizzing from the strong 
savage arms. 

But a change had taken place : the weapons were aimed at all 
the sailors except Thomas Thorold. He sat there untouched, ex- 
pecting every moment to receive his death wound, and receiving 
it not. Only he saw his companions dropping one by one, meet- 



THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 331 

ing their deaths bravely, as Englishmen are wont to do, but with 
features tortured into that rigid glare which indicates the height 
of suppressed terror and extreme suspense. 

When at last the mate was the only living one left, to his 
horror they surrounded him, bound his hands and feet, and lifted 
him into one of their canoes. Then they turned towards shore, 
towing the three boats behind them. 

Thorold, naturally supposing that they were keeping him for 
torture, and preferring immediate death to a deferred but more 
horrible fate, attempted to jump into the sea, or dash out his brains 
against the sides of the canoe ; but they carefully prevented him 
from doing himself any harm. Arrived at the shore, they retired 
to their huts, leaving him still bound hand and foot upon the beach. 

This was late in the afternoon, and all that night he lay there 
helpless, expecting every moment to be carried to the fire or some 
other torture. But they went about their business, gathering 
clams and muscles and eating them raw, collecting fuel and heaping 
up the fires, and never touched their prisoner at all ; only they 
kept looking towards him, and crowds of little half-naked hideous 
children stood a few yards off and gazed at him in awe, and lean 
dogs came and snarled and sniffed at him suspiciously. 

The tribe appeared to consist of between one and two hundred, 
and there were several rude huts formed of trees cut down and 
stuck close to one another in the ground, while their branches 
and foliage were tied together and formed an inefficient roof. 

Fuegans appear to be insensible to cold, for though the climate 
is as cold or even colder than the extreme north of Scotland, they 
do not attempt to make comfortable huts for themselves, and 
they wear nothing but the light clothing which I have described. 
At night, however, most of them slept by the fires, like dogs on 
a winter's night. 

All that night long Thomas Thorold lay bound upon the beach, 
trembling with cold and terror, and praying, 'Lord, now let me die ! ' 

In the early morning he felt that his hour had come, for two 
or three of the Fuegans came towards him, and one of them had 
a knife in his hand. But when they had cut the fibre ropes that 
bound him they left him alone again, standing on the beach, free 
to do what he liked. 

It was useless to think of flight, for their eyes were always 
upon him, and besides, one man could have done nothing with a 
boat in the sea outside the bay. So after a while he obeyed the 



332 THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 

cravings of nature, and collected muscles and clams on the shore, 
as he had seen the natives do ; and on this cold food he made a 
wretched breakfast. 

Thus he spent all that day and all the next thirty-seven days, 
for he kept a careful count of the time. He ate only the miser- 
able shell-fish that he found on the beach, drank water from a 
torrent that flowed down the mountain-side, and slept by one of 
the fires, which he boldly approached the first night after they 
unbound him, for he had experienced the cold of one wintry 
night, and that was enough. 

They were neither kind nor unkind to him, but took no notice 
of him whatever ; they never attempted to speak to him, even by 
signs, except on one occasion when he wandered too far from them, 
and one of them ran after him and made signs to him to go back. 

During the leaden-footed days he necessarily observed how 
the natives passed their time, but he did so without the slightest 
interest, and was unable to relate many details about them. Most 
of the work, such as hewing wood and drawing water, was done 
by the women ; the men did very little, but spent their time 
mostly in lying about their huts. Sometimes a few of them went 
off in their canoes seal hunting, and always returned with one or 
two seals ; sometimes they went hunting inland, and returned 
with a guanaco a species of llama : then they all immediately 
fell upon it, tore it to pieces, and ate it raw. If a dead seal was 
washed ashore, they ate it in the same way, gorging themselves 
on the putrid blubber and flesh. 

After these disgusting feeds they lay on the ground for hours 
in a torpor, and Thorold could easily have stabbed them as they 
lay asleep, but that some of the weaker ones, having been unable 
to secure much of the food, were awake and ready to cast their 
spears at him. Moreover, if he had killed them all, he would have 
been no better off. 

All these weeks he was in a horrible state of suspense as to 
why he was being kept alive and what torture was preparing for 
him, so much so that he was unable to sleep for terror, until forced 
into unconsciousness by fatigue. 

But on the thirty-eighth day an event occurred which, although 
in itself gruesome and terrifying, put into his heart a hope that 
he might some day return to the outer world again, and gave him 
a clue as to what was his captors' only conceivable object in pre- 
serving him alive. 



THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 333 

It was abc-ut noon, on a fine cold day, when Thorold, standing 
on the beach and looking out to sea, saw two whalers' boats pull 
round the headland to a distant part of the shore, where they pro- 
ceeded to land and get fresh water. The huts of the Fuegans 
were between Thorold and the new-comers, who apparently did 
not perceive the natives, and were quietly filling their water-casks 
at a stream. 

As Thorold was following his natural impulse to run to them, 
get into one of their boats, and make them row away, he was 
pinioned by three or four strong natives. Then a few canoes put 
out to cut off the boats, should they attempt to escape, and all the 
rest of the fighting men, and many of the women, caught up 
their long spears and ran towards their victims. 

To Thorold's surprise, he was made to run along with them. 
The whalers' men were intercepted before they got off, and then 
it was the old ghastly tale repeated : they were shot down to a 
man with the poisoned spears. All the while the Fuegans who 
were holding Thorold made him understand that they wished him 
to watch what was going on, by gesticulating and pointing towards 
the slaughter. 

After it was over they pillaged the dead bodies and the boats 
of everything they had, and then threw the corpses into the sea. 

While Thorold was lying awake that night, and brooding over 
the horrible event, a sudden inspiration came to him that the 
object of the Fuegans in keeping him alive was to send him back 
to his people that he might tell them how they would be treated 
if they came to the land of the Fuegans to declare unending 
war between themselves and the white world ; and though, of 
course, he never knew for a certainty, yet the way in which they 
made him watch the slaughter of the whalers' men, and every- 
thing that happened before and after, pointed to this explanation 
of their conduct. From that night his great fear and suspense 
were mingled with this grain of hope. 

The next morning the Fuegans collected their belongings, 
which consisted of nothing but spears and knives, a few skins, and 
some utensils for holding water, and marched inland, taking their 
prisoner with them. They spent about six hours a day on the 
march, over difficult mountain passes and down into deep valleys, 
making fires to sleep by at night, and living on guanacos, which 
they occasionally shot. 

Thorold took little interest in observing the nature of the 



334 THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 

country, but he reported it to be very similar to that seen on the 
coast bleak mountains, with occasional copses of stunted trees, 
and all else absolutely barren and uncultivated. There is little 
doubt, however, that it is a treasure-house of mineral wealth, for 
various ores, including gold, are picked up in plenty on the coast, 
and there is every indication of coal. If a coal-mine was once got 
into working order here, it would be of inestimable value for the 
coaling of ships alone, as well as for use in South America itself, 
for coal is at present brought from England at great expense all 
the way to Monte Video, and to Sandy Point, in the straits of 
Magellan, from the north of Chili. 

On the fourth day of the march they met another tribe, also 
on the march, and the two bodies of men fell to fighting at once, 
as is their invariable custom. After an hour's fighting there were 
only about fifty men left of the first tribe ; these surrendered, and 
became prisoners of war to their conquerors, who had also sustained 
heavy losses. The prisoners, however, did not appear to be re- 
garded as slaves at all, but simply mingled with the victorious 
tribe. After the battle the prisoners spoke to their captors about 
Thorold, whom they brought forward, apparently explaining their 
object in keeping him ; and he lived with the new tribe on exactly 
the same footing as he had done with the old one. 

Nearly six months Thorold spent in this way, the tribe in 
which he lived sometimes marching for five or six days, and 
then settling down for several weeks ; sometimes they were on the 
sea-shore, and then he lived as they did, chiefly on raw mussels 
and other shell-fish ; when they were inland he lived on pieces of 
raw guanaco, which he grabbed along with the others. 

There is a story current in Chili that the Fuegans, when 
driven to necessity, first eat their dogs, the only domestic animal 
which they keep, and, when these are all gone, proceed to devour 
the old women of the tribe. Thorold saw no signs of cannibalism, 
but this was perhaps because no necessity for it arose. He states 
that the old women were treated with especial care ; and it is 
doubtful whether this affection arose from the hearts or the 
stomachs of their grandchildren. 

Five times he saw a fight with another tribe ; in three out 
of the five his tribe was conquered, and he changed hands, the- 
prisoners always appearing to explain to their captors their object 
in keeping him. 

Among the third tribe with which he lived he saw a white 



THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 335 

woman ; she was the Chilian lady whom I have already mentioned, 
and Thorold took the first opportunity of going up to her. The 
Fuegans held him back at first, for they regarded her as a goddess ; 
but at her command they let him approach her. They were un- 
able to converse, for she spoke only Spanish, and he only Eng- 
lish; but from that time Thorold was treated by the natives 
with more deference than before: 

He was never allowed again to approach the Chilian woman, 
who appeared to be rather ashamed of her situation before him, 
but he saw her manner of life. She was the wife of the chief, 
and had apparently a large number of children. The native's 
treated her with the greatest respect, and cooked meat for her, 
and made her a more elaborate hut than they made for themselves. 
Her dress was a mixture of civilisation and barbarism. On the 
whole she appeared satisfied with her strange life. 

About four weeks after Thorold joined this tribe, another tribe 
came upon them ; there was a fight, and he changed hands. Just 
before the fight began the Chilian woman went away with a few 
companions, and he saw her no more. 

Towards the end of the sixth month the tribe which possessed 
Thorold reached a place on the sea-shore which consisted of a bay 
almost shut in by land. He had often reached a similar place, 
for there are many bays on that coast with an island facing them. 

On the morning of the third day after they had reached this 
spot he was on the beach gathering his usual breakfast of shell-fish, 
when he heard a sound that sent the blood rushing towards his 
heart. It was the familiar sound of a steamer, and looking up he 
saw the black smoke floating away in the wind. 

Then he knew that he was on the shore of the Straits of 
Magellan, and before he had time to consider how to secure his 
safety he had dropped on the beach in a dead faint, for six 
months' living in horrible suspense, without shelter, and with the 
poorest apology for food, had left him very little of his old 
strength. 

On that day the steamer * Aconcagua,' of the Pacific Steam 
Navigation Company, bound from Liverpool to Valparaiso, left 
Sandy Point and was proceeding westward through the straits. 
The bulwarks were crowded with passengers and officers and crew 
looking out for native canoes, for it is the custom of steamers 
passing through these straits to slow down, unless they are in a 
great hurry, and interview the natives in their canoes, ending by 



336 THE ONE PIONEER OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. 

dropping over the ship's side a barrel filled with old clothes and 
tobacco and other things calculated to please the savage mind. 
Once or twice a couple of natives have been hoisted on board and 
shown round the steamer. With awe they gazed at the long 
saloon, and in horror they fled when they were taken down to the 
fire-room and a furnace door was suddenly opened at them, re- 
minding them of a crater of one of the volcanoes that gave their 
land its name of Fire. 

Before the awful adventure of Thorold, all that was known 
about these strange people was learnt in this way, and thus the 
curious fact was discovered that although their near neighbours 
the Patagonians will drink alUthe rum and other fire-water they 
can lay their hands on, the Fuegans will take no alcohol of any 
kind, but, when offered it, turn away with the same appearance 
of disgust that a dog shows under similar circumstances, in this 
way, among others, showing how low they stand in the scale of 
humanity. Tobacco, however, they greatly appreciate. 

On this occasion the passengers of the ' Aconcagua ' were not 
disappointed in their desire to see the natives. Several canoes 
were shooting out to meet them, and in one of them they saw to 
their intense surprise a white man standing up, and heard him 
shouting to them in English to ' stop for God's sake ! ' Of course 
they stopped. The canoes came alongside, and the white man 
was hauled up on deck without the slightest opposition from the 
Fuegans, and indeed by their evident desire. 

On reaching the deck Thorold fainted. He was carried away 
and attended to by the doctor ; and the natives, we may be sure, 
got a good toll that day. Several barrels were dropped over the 
ship's side, laden with all things that the savages could desire. 

The rescued man sx>on recovered sufficiently to tell his wonder- 
ful story. He was taken to Valparaiso, and thence back again to 
England in the steamship * Galicia,' as a distressed British seaman. 

During the first part of the voyage his mental faculties 
appeared to be a good deal weakened. He would frequently 
hang over the bulwarks in a sort of stupor, and the doctor 
ordered any one who saw him in this state at once to approach 
him and touch him, and ask him what he was thinking of, until 
he answered them. 

And the answer that came at last was always the same : 

4 1 was thinkin' of how the faces of my mates looked when 
them savages was murderin' of them.' 



THE 

CORNHILL MAGAZINE. 



APEIL, 1886. 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

' The Confidential Agent [ Omen divortii valuers] is a shy and solitary bird of a 
somewhat dusky hue, in appearance and habit not unlike the Cuckoo ; ... of an 
irregular, crooked, noiseless flight, which the male bird takes usually towards 
nightfall, sometimes with a harsh and dissonant cry, but more commonly entirely 
mute ; the female, whose plumage is varied and rich, making use of a call not 
unlike that of the partridge. In both, the appetite is voracious and indiscriminate, 
. . . and, even in the most ordinary specimens, there will be found an abnormal 
development of bill. They are much given to haunting low-lying localities, the 
strand of a river forming their favourite feeding ground, . . . where numbers of 
them may be daily observed, fishing close to the water's edge. Though not by 
nature pugnacious, they will, when attacked, defend themselves with uncommon 
tenacity and resolution.' Vide passim Nat. Hist. Sup. Art. ' Conf. Ag.' 

THE Confidential Agent is Leporello in nineteenth-century dress ; 
lie is Figaro with a horse-shoe pin, and Mascarille in a paper 
collar. In a century in which, half-way through his career, Cril 
Bias would have figured at the Old Bailey, the Chevalier des 
Grieux before Mr. Paget at Hammersmith, and Cellini danced his 
last dance upon nothing one fine Monday morning at Wands- 
worth ; in a century that at any rate admits to so few weaknesses ; 
the Confidential Agent is all that is left to us of those old rascally, 
laughing, lying valets of the old comedies of intrigue, those 
shameless Toms of Etherege and the Eestoration, those active 
Arlequins of Italy, and lissom, bright-eyed Graciosos of Spain. 
If, then, you can conceive a Mascarille without his ribbons, his 
ruff, his rolls, his wig, and his high heels ; a Mascarille in a 
frayed frock-coat, vaccinated, and with cork soles to his boots ; 
a Mascarille whose gay smile has yielded to fog and business 
troubles, whose hearing is not very good now for intervals on the 
guitar, who is dull, decorous, and attentive to your story as the 
commonest of common-law judges ; if in your imagination you 
VOL. VI. NO. 34, N. S. '16 



338 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

can build up such a figure, you will have some idea of the 
Confidential Agent of to-day, as he moves along the Strand, and 
backwards and forwards through the corridors of the Law-courts. 

Now, let us say frankly, and at once, that the Confidential 
Agent will do anything for you for money meaning by that, 
anything that keeps him this side of the line that, roughly 
speaking, divides the Central Criminal Court into prisoner and 
judge. What is there he will not do for you if you pay him 
properly ? He will put the jewels for you into Margaret's bed- 
chamber ; he will send old Martha doddering off on a fool's errand 
to the other end of the town to be out of your way ; he will make 
love to the little maid-of-all-wprk, and persuade her, with tears 
channeling down her grimy face, to mix the sleeping draught 
for Margaret's mother; he will trip up Valentine's heels, and, 
if necessary, sit on his head ; and at the last desperate pinch, 
through his old schoolfellow the gaoler, get you secretly admitted 
to the prison, and have a hired carriage waiting at the street 
corner to carry you both off to Charing Cross, and catch the mail 
for Paris. Pay the Confidential Agent, and he will do all or any 
of these offices. He will thrash your enemy, play a practical joke 
for you on your friend, make love to your mistress, or watch your 
wife. In a word, the power of money and the power of the 
Confidential Agent appear to us to be almost exactly parallel. 

In his haunt in his low and dusky-ceiling'd haunt sits the 
Confidential Agent, and discourses to us placidly of a phase of our 
existence he calls life. It is a chameleon-hued word that of life, 
and there be few that can define its colour or agree as to its true 
meaning. For consider how different an interpretation the word 
life carries along with it to the next four individuals you meet in 
the street. To the clerk, it is the music-hall, a seat by the 
chairman, and an introduction one day to one of the artists ; to 
the Sister of Charity, a little room to herself in the hospital hung 
with religious pictures, her only breath of fresh air at the open 
windows of the corridor ; to the hunting man, a horse kept at 
Peterborough, or winter quarters over a pastrycook's at Melton ; 
to a Londoner, Bond Street and Piccadilly, a first-night at the 
Lyceum, and the last edition of the evening paper. Interchange 
any of the four and what is life to one, to the other, without much 
exaggeration, would be death. What element in the existence of 
those four can we agree to be common to each and to all of us, 
and to be life ? 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 339 

To the Confidential Agent, at any rate, this appears to be life 
that which most call folly. Life, says Groethe in his ' Wilhelm 
Meister,' was by the Children of Joy discovered not to yield a 
whole number when divided only by reason ; there was necessary 
to be added to it some fraction, some pinch of folly, to make the 
whole mass digestible. In other words, it is not only dulce, but 
necesse, occasionally desipere in loco. But these brief passages, 
evanescent flickers, summer Brocken dances of most men's lives, to 
the Confidential Agent become life itself. Our stately movements 
whirl for him with a click into that eternally crazy dance of which 
only the dancers change ; and our noble and solemn music is to 
him nothing but the carillon of a myriad bells frantically shaken 
by a huge sprawling figure that spreads along the London sky 
like one of Verrio's goddesses. What wonder if the Confidential 
Agent has somewhat of contempt for human nature he who 
has scarcely seen it sober ? What opinion would you have of an 
individual who, whenever you met him, was, as Figaro says, * entre 
deux vins ' ; always in a scrape ; always lying and whining to get 
out of it ; always cursing, maudlin, utterly contemptible ? 

Truly, Confidential Agent, from the bottom of our heart we 
pity you ; for what more terrible than to deal only with the maladies 
of men, to see none but the maim, the halt, and the blind ? Is it 
possible no good man or woman ever comes your way ; no light 
footstep of a light heart ever springs your dingy stairs ; no bright 
glance of honesty and candour ever shines upon you in your low- 
browed room ? No, none ever. There are none ever come this 
way but jealous women, suspicious men ; none ever but half-pay 
Don Juans, with red faces and large feet; none ever but loud- 
voiced Tom and Jerry, with great ears and bulging necks, 
recommended there by Bob Logic, who, with one foot on the 
step of the hansom, holds Corinthian Kate below in sprightly 
doubtful conversation. Life that to most of us has such splendid 
hues of love and friendship, of self-denial and devotion, is to 
the Confidential Agent but a dim and tangled skein of folly 
and intrigue. Women, whose tenderness and unselfishness have 
beamed on most of us, to him are cold and barren as mere figures 
in a shop window ; and men with their generosity, their nobility 
of thought and act, sink into the poor forked wretch who goes 
through life as though it were one long Burlington Arcade one 
long passage from dark to dark of flaring gas and idle talk. 

The Confidential Agent goes to a press that stands against the 

162 



340 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

wall and pulls its doors open. It has shelves and pigeon-holes 
and drawers stuffed full of papers, little packages neatly tied with 
tape. He pulls them out by handfuls and throws them on the 
floor. ' Instructions from clients, cases completed,' he says, as the 
papers fall. < You will see I am right. Open any one of them, 
the story is always the same.' 

Among the paper faggots there leaps and frisks a large red 
mouse, whose delicate skin is all aglow and seems transparent. 

* She knows ! ' he cries with a chuckle. * She knows ; she lives 
in the press. Any of them, anywhere, all the same ! ' 

Oh, secrets of a great city ! we cry in answer sordid and 
shameful ; oh, records of infamy and folly ; abandoned pages, 
drift sheets of insanity ; shall we not among them all find one 
true note, one honest cry of an honest heart in pain, one simple 
record of one good life, for the moment only troubled ? In all 
that crazy pile, if peradventure we search until the dawn, can we 
not unfold some touch of dignity, some other tale than that of self- 
indulgence ? Surely, under all that pile there must lie somewhere 
hid some point or speck of light ; among all those charcoal embers 
of bad passions, surely nature has in store for us one diamond ? 

The Confidential Agent laughs, and the red mouse seems 
derisively to give the pink ghost of a smile. 

4 Any of them, anywhere, all the same ! ' he repeats. * See 
here, the one she is sitting on now, my beauty ! ' And with a 
flip of his forefinger he chases the slim animal, and from the 
packet of papers unties the tape. 

Drawn then in the dust, designed in the charcoal embers, you 
are to conceive a lordly mansion in a lordly square, troubled for 
all its magnificence with discord and discontent, penetrated for 
all its pastilles with the frowsy atmosphere of stale quarrels. 
Husband and wife, who loved each other once, hating each other 
now; eyes and lips, that once smiled, now doing naught but 
scowl ; and stalking everywhere, ' upstairs and downstairs and in 
my lady's chamber,' gaunt Suspicion and haggard dryskin'd 
Jealousy. For, if you look attentively down into that lordly 
mansion, whose splendid front is all beflowered from dining-room 
to attic windows, you cannot help detecting the dangerous figure 
of an old lover ; who, beaten once, flat against the garden-wall, 
while the bridal procession of his false mistress passed with the 
nodding minstrels and the clangour of bells, fell back to bite his 
nails and scowl all the honeymoon hours and all the early years 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 341 

of marriage ; and now, having recuU pour mieux sauter, is back 
again without a shade of annoyance on his handsome face, and 
in that lordly mansion parts the stale atmosphere with lightning 
flashes and in the boudoir strikes inharmonious notes that vibrate 
far into the night. 

* Quelle rage a-t-on d'apprendre ce qu'on craint toujours de 
savoir ! ' cries Don Bartolo in the * Barbier ' ; quelle rage, too, has 
the owner of this lordly mansion to learn as much, though natu- 
rally he fears it ; and so, the fury gnawing at his vitals and the 
pain growing insupportable, down he journeys one winter's day 
to the Strand, and with a bird-call summons to his side the Con- 
fidential Agent. By this time, neck and crop clean out of the 
boudoir has the old lover been turned, and by this time his 
patent-leather sole no longer presses the yielding stair-carpet ; 
but that, severe as the course has been, the lordly owner fears 
has not been severe enough. There is still the Mercury of the 
penny post, and for the messages he carries fortunately still and 
always that emotionless and unerring detective, the blotting pad. 

* See ! ' in a burst of anger he cries to the Confidential Agent, 

* see, she dares to write to him ! ' and, holding the white paper 
up to the winter's light, there across the sky lies as a portent 
the broken portion of a message of affection. Gret him only proof 
more complete than this, join and connect for him only those 
broken lines ; get him, in a word, a letter ; and every sheet of it 
shall be paid for in banknotes ; get him that, and he will pay for 
it as though he were the craziest of collectors and it the crowning 
treasure of his collection. 

Enters, then, that lordly mansion the Confidential Agent in 
search after a letter, in the fitting and noble guise of Jeames, the 
second footman, a new and innocent Jeames, with a rare Devon- 
shire colour in his cheek, only too ready to make himself useful ; 
above all, only too ready to run little errands, to carry notes, to 
post letters. Strange, but Jeames with his fine Devonshire vigour 
is always anxious to run to the post, and in that is always indulged, 
in all but with the mistress's letters ; those are ever in Chawles's 
efficient hands ; none of her letters there are ever posted but by 
him, who, daily driving with his mistress, daily descends at the 
street corner, and, with a stately care and melancholy, to the 
blushing box consigns the precious papers. And, do what he will, 
the innocent Devonshire lad Jeames never even can get a sight, 
much less a handling, of the letters daily entrusted to the silent 



342 CONFIDENTLY! AGENTS. 

Chawles, from the actual hands of the mistress of this lordly 
mansion. 

Baffled? Ay, but for the moment only. Difficulties only 
stir the resourceful soul of the Confidential Agent, who gives up 
the place which, young and willing and Devonshire-bred as he 
is, is yet too hard for him, and sets himself to watch outside 
instead. In heat and in cold, in wet and in fire, he saunters 
round that lordly mansion, behind it and before ; and, everything 
coming to him who knows how to wait, one day it comes to him, 
and, often disheartened and beaten, at last he wins and is gay. 

On one of the days while he is watching in the rain, it is too 
wet for madam to drive ; but, wet though it be, her letters must 
be posted, and by whom, of course, more secretly and surely than 
by the faithful Chawles ? Though the sky fall, the letters must 
go ; though shoes and stockings be ruined in the mire, the three 
o'clock post must be caught. Chawles comes into the portico and 
he looks up and down, up at the sky and down the street at the 
pillar-box. It is very wet, and his noble shoes are very thin, and 
after a moment's pause he beckons magnificently to a poor devil 
of a crossing-sweeper, slushing at the puddles, and jingling 
twopence bids him keep the letters dry and put them in the box 
for him. And, jingling the twopence, he rests and balances on 
his heels and watches it done, and throwing the money into the 
road, saunters superbly indoors. 

The Confidential Agent's chance, clearly his chance, at last ! 
The next hopelessly wet day there he stands at the corner in the 
sweeper guise, slushing at the puddles, and limping for largesse 
after the few passengers. And as he blows on his fingers he 
prays with all his heart for Charles to come, and come quickly, 
with the letters for the three o'clock post. 

"Will Chawles never come and breathe the air in the portico ? 
Patience, oh Confidential Agent ! Await at least the post hour, 
which, coming at last, brings with it Chawles, who, resting and 
balancing again on his heels, looks again up at the sky and down 
the street, and, again jingling twopence, calls to the poor devil of 
a crossing-sweeper. In the limping crossing-sweeper he recog- 
nises not the willing Devonshire lad Jeames. To his vague and 
bland eye are not all crossing-sweepers alike? A miserable 
crew whose souls are given over to the seductions of white satin, 
what should such pariahs know of the secrets of high life ? 

* Post these, Tom,' he cries affably, ' and here's a couple of 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 343 

coppers for you ! ' And, with his heart beating, off limps the 
Confidential Agent to the pillar-box down the street, with the 
broom under his arm. His hand trembles and his eyelids shake 
as he looks down at the little packet. Is there one among them 
for his man ? There is ! And as at the box he deftly posts them, 
all but that one, he can scarcely keep from a wild flourish of his 
broom : and then, receiving a friendly nod from Chawles, he 
watches him indoors, lets the twopence lie in the mud, and with a 
yelp of exultation leaps into a cab, and so home to change and 
telegraph. Within the hour that letter was in his lordly patron's 
hands; within the hour, he was ready for other and similar 
adventures. 

A good beginning that of the pile, a hopeful beginning of our 
Diogenes' search. What next ? What other packet does the red 
mouse sit on ? for she, with her blinking sinister eyes, we take to 
be our guide. She, whose long thin tail lies urging us, like a 
flaring comet pointer, to open and to read this. 

What have we here ? Apparently here we have youth, its 
jeunesse orageuse just past ; the sky clearing, the trees dripping, 
the thunder growling and rolling off over the hills into the next 
county ; youth who desires to forswear sack, to become respectable 
and to marry, send his boys one day to Harrow, and for his 
health and figure's sake amble in the Row before breakfast. 
Sensible young man, sensibly resolved ; what is there to prevent 
him realising so amiable and reasonable a project? Surely 
nothing; for cannot the wandering sheep return to the fold just 
exactly when he pleases, and be received with rapturous baas of 
welcome from those who have never felt the least inclination to 
stray ? And if the flight into Bohemia have damaged him just a 
little, what, after all, does a tear in the fleece matter, or an eye 
somewhat bleared and bloodshot ? Are not these trifling blemishes, 
indeed, something of a relief among a flock so painfully, glar- 
ingly uniform ? 

Ah, but how if in the weald of Bohemia, under a stunted 
thorn, he have vowed to some one else ? How if, under one of the 
Bohemian hedges of wild sloe, there sit a maiden all forlorn, too 
practical to weep, too knowing to sigh clasping instead to her 
bosom letters, a portrait, a ring ; a maiden all forlorn, talking 
wildly of a priest all tattered and torn, a solicitor all battered and 
worn ? Well, if there be, what matter ? give her money, man. 
So much for letters, so much for portrait, so much for ring sim- 



344 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

pie enough, surely. Money ? in a louder key, Money ? Yes, 
ma'am, we thought twenty pound Twenty pounds? Money? 
Oh, sir, how you mistake me ! What have I done to make you 
think so meanly of me ? Oh, sir, are there not wounds of the 
heart too deep for gold to touch are there not, etc. etc. etc. 
See, passim, the great Adelphi melodrama 'In the Fields.' 
Immense applause, huge enthusiasm, from the gods ; from the 
stalls, silence and something like contempt ; from the poor 
frightened wandering sheep, an alarmed baa. Very unexpected, 
very unexpected and awkward ! 

An unpleasant position, and very hard on the poor wandering 
sheep, who has long had enough of the brambles of Bohemia 
and desires only to stay at home and bathe his damaged eye, 
grow his fleece again, and henceforth, with his pretty partner, 
who cannot even find Bohemia on the map, lead a purely pastoral 
life of pipes and crooks and nourishing food. Certainly, very 
hard if the arm of the maiden all forlorn be long enough to reach 
him in the sheepcote, long and stark enough to lift him over the 
wattled fence by the fleece with a struggling expression of extreme 
stupidity, amid the piteous baas of his snowy little partner and 
the other terrified respectabilities ; very hard if after a few pure 
evenings of pan-piping under the great still stars, with only the 
distant waterfall, the distant yelp of the wolf slinking round 
the shepherds' fires ; very hard if by the budding horns he be 
dragged backward to the ballet landscape and the property 
banquet of goblets and game-pies, to the arbours one can so easily 
push on one side, the rustling chaplets of tissue roses, the 
loosened zones, the hard bright eyes very hard and very un- 
reasonable ! For consider, often as the father will reclaim his 
son from a life of folly and disorder, often as Duval pere reclaims 
his Armand, how often is it, do you suppose, in two centuries 
that a Manon follows to confess in her irresistible fashion to Des 
Grieux and lead him back in spite of himself to the alUe verte of 
Asnieres ? Very hard. 

But why, after all, not defy this maiden all forlorn ; why not 
snap the finger at her and bid her do her vulgar Bohemian 
worst ? Let her, if she will, ring the kitchen bell, or hang on 
to the area railings and throw her bonnet into the dining-room 
window, or even part melodramatically the honourable company 
at the church, and, while the organ gurgles ' The Voice that 
Breathes ' plant her fish-bone stiletto of Billingsgate in the very 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 345 

bosom of the bride. A foolish suggestion, foolish and ignorant ; 
for observe, there are to the bride that is to be a father and a 
mother of the highest, austerest respectability, of the snowiest, 
heaviest fleeces in the fold you understand ? A son-in-law who 
has not always been quite steady, qui a fait ses farces ? Never, 
while there are cellarettes in Bloomsbury and ormulu candlesticks 
in Hyde Park Square ! 

Baaing and fluttering, then, down comes our poor startled 
three-year-old Southdown to the Confidential Agent. * Portrait, 
ring, letters ! ' he bleats. ' Gret them for me only, and their 
weight in gold is yours ! ' And with that he falls flat, and you 
can se.e his heart beat frantically through the tear in his fleece. 
For in all honesty he is sick and wearied of Bohemia, and in all 
honesty is tenderly attached to his pretty little partner, and if he 
be dragged back again to the old one, it will in more senses than 
one be the ruin of him. 

So, with his most solemn manner, and his most solemn clothes, 
off he goes, the Confidential Agent, to see what he can do himself 
with the maiden all forlorn ; and, imitating as closely as he can 
the pere Duval, speaks ponderously of life and its duties, youth 
and its follies, a young man's ruin, a young girl's broken heart, 
and a good deal else, in the choicest phrases of the ' London 
Journal,' all of which, to the maiden all forlorn, is very much as 
though you shot peas at a crocodile and expected at the first 
volley it would lie on its back in the mud and yield its hide for 
a prayer-book cover. For it clearly appears that this daughter of 
Bohemia, whose father was a colonel in the Bohemian army, has 
inherited the warlike and depredatory instincts of her sire, cares 
no jot for money but desires only oh, monstrous passions of 
humanity ! revenge. So the Confidential Agent drops his solemn 
manner and takes off his solemn clothes, and turns in his mind 
some other scheme. 

Now, it appears that the windows of the respectable caravanserai 
where the maiden temporarily resides, itself a posthouse, we may 
callit, on the Bohemian road, are by pure good fortune at this 
very time in want of blinds ; curtains she has, but no blinds. 
This the poor sheep, who still bleats piteously with his tongue 
out, well knows and remembers. * And the letters and the portrait,' 
asks the Confidential Agent ; ' do you remember or know where 
they are kept ? ' Yes, a secretaire, between the windows ; he 
remembers that very well, for did not he Good ! be a man, get 

165 



346 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

up and go home ; come back to-morrow at this time, and letters, 
portrait, and ring shall be yours. In the morning, then, the 
maiden first seen walking out for her health's sake in the opposite 
direction, two respectable young mechanics, with everything con- 
nected with new blinds, call at the respectable caravanserai and 
request to go upstairs to fit them up. Once alone in the room, 
assistant Jim keeps the door, and before you can say ' Screw- 
driver ! ' the Confidential Agent has confidentially forced the 
secretaire and confidentially abstracted the letters, the portrait, 
and the ring. What need of more ? Suffice it to say, that no 
steadier young husband, no more irreproachable son-in-law at this 
moment goes citywards, and b*ack again takes his afternoon club- 
walk, than he whose fleece was once so ragged, whose poor left eye 
was once so bleared and bloodshot and damaged. 

Upon our word, a conte drolatique ! What next ? Crime 
next, baffled police next, a Continental scamper in the depth 
of winter after a criminal : the Struggle ! the Capture ! the Sen- 
tence ! Christmas spent quite magazine-articly in an express 
train, and New Year's Day on the mail-boat from Calais, with the 
prisoner, Jack Kascal, biting his nails under lock and key in the 
cabin below. 

Jack Rascal robs an insurance company of a million of money, 
and is off no one knows where, least of all Dogberry and Verges 
of the City Police, who are both at their wits' end, no very great 
journey for either of them, as it appears. Jack Rascal may be 
in London or at the bottom of a Brazilian mine, stripping tea- 
shrubs in Thibet or planting vines in Natal. Wherever he may 
be he must be found, to that the insurance company have quite 
made up their minds ; and, failing the police, at such a time who 
is there like the Confidential Agent ? But it is Christmas-time, 
and a desperate hard winter, and the Confidential Agent will not 
quit the tender glow of the domestic hearth for anything under 
carte blanche, which, after a meeting of directors, is accorded him, 
and with a cheque-book whose pages are numberless as leaves 
in Vallambrosa, and for device, reperiendus est latro, the Con- 
fidential Agent makes his first move. 

His first move, naturally, is to find where Jack Rascal may 
have fled to, and be in hiding; his next to follow and bring him 
back ; but where he may have gone to or may be, who is there 
can tell ? Certainly neither Dogberry nor Verges, who, though 
much to be admired from the way they have borne their losses, 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 347 

are poor officers of the Duke, take them which way you will. 
They do nothing but shake in their old furred cloaks and wish 
themselves home and abed, guess every penthouse shadow to be 
the man they want, and are firm in the belief (mainly to save 
themselves trouble) that, after all, Jack Rascal has committed 
suicide, and in that way, as one may say, run completely to 
earth. So alone the Confidential Agent sets off to a melanchoty 
suburb where Mistress Jack resides, under cover from the storm, 
and waiting the chance to join her husband, who, though a trifle 
light-fingered, has ever been the best of men to her ; and there 
in that melancholy suburb, to the drone of an organ, the Con- 
fidential Agent watches for the postman, and as that postman has 
an odd trick, only recently acquired, of dropping letters, more 
especially those directed to Mistress Jack, the Confidential Agent 
walks behind him, picks them up, inspects and politely returns 
them to the postman, who naturally is vastly obliged. Nor is it 
long before an envelope arrives in the handwriting so earnestly 
desired by more than one ; a Danish stamp, the postmark 
Hallebrod. ' Mr. Postman, you have dropped a letter ! ' ' Ah, 
very much obliged to you, sir ! ' And the Confidential Agent 
leaves the melancholy suburb, and the organ with its wheezy 
' Marta,' and, with the knowledge that Jack Eascal writes from 
Hallebrod in Denmark, seeks Dogberry, dozing in the watch-house. 
4 Wake up, Dogberry ! good news, Jack Rascal is at Halle- 
brod ; we start to-night ! No, not you, thank you, Mr. Verges ! ' 
who thankfully pulls his mittens over his chapped knuckles and 
sticks his knobbled old feet again in the straw, while, alack the 
day ! away darts the Confidential Agent, dragging after him the 
ancient Dogberry by the skirt, who once in his brisk and alert 
youth went to Paris on the business of the Court, was promptly 
hocussed by La Bailliere, and badly beaten by La Bailliere's friend. 
But now oh woe is him ! it appears he is necessary to serve the 
warrant, and in the depth of winter too horror ! Let us not 
make it any of our business to record the sufferings of poor 
Dogberry on that fearful winter's journey, nor relate how among 
/mvpi' a\rysa, he fully realised that definition of travelling given 
by Madame de Stael in * Corinne ' ' to traverse unknown lands, 
to hear a language which you hardly comprehend, to look on faces 
unconnected with either your past or your future . . . for the 
hurry to arrive where no one awaits you, that agitation whose sole 
cause is curiosity, lessens you in your own esteem, while, ere new 



348 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

objects can become old, they have bound you by some sweet links 
of sentiment and habit.' Over all this let us draw a veil ; let us 
draw the curtains as though poor Dogberry were sleeping sweetly 
inside a Wagon-lit, rolling at his ease over a darkened country, 
lightened only by the wastes of snow. It was only when, after 
seven days and nights' continuous headlong rush, he found 
himself at last in the barren Speisesaal of the ' Zum Bitter ' at 
Hallebrod, that for the first time for seven days and seven nights 
sitting still in a chair, tears fell on each side of his crinkled old 
nose, while with many antique and rusty oaths he swore that he 
would move no more, that Hallebrod would see the last of him, 
that the little wooden spire of Hallebrod church would solemnly 
point the rest of the force, Hugh Otecake and George Seacole, to 
where he slept his last sleep, down by the roots of the sombre 
waving pines. Strong waters do something to restore him, strong 
waters and a smoking supper ; and then, by the Confidential 
Agent, still full of life and spirits, the waiter is cautiously 
attacked on the subject of Jack Rascal, Dogberry listening 
cynically all the while, as cynically as he can, that is, with his 
mouth full; for he has no belief, and never had any, in any 
connection between Jack Rascal and Hallebrod. The waiter is 
talkative, it is the depth of winter, and he sees so few faces, and 
certainly, he says, yes an Englishman has been in the 'Zum 
Ritter,' left that morning, occupied, indeed, the very room they 
are now in. An Englishman of the name of Robert Morley. 
* Robert Morley ? ' chokes Dogberry, with wheezy laughter ; 'Robert 
Morley ! ' the only funny thing he has heard since he started. 
' Anything like that ? ' is the Confidential Agent's calm question, 
handing the waiter a photograph of Jack Rascal. ' The same 
gentleman,' replies the waiter, and the photograph falling that 
moment face downwards on the floor, there at the back is the 
name Robert Morley, photographer, Cheapside. 

' How now, Dogberry, my boy ? ' laughs the Confidential 
Agent ' how now ? Gret you quick to bed and rest your old 
bones, for first in the morning we must be off again. Robert 
Morley and Jack Rascal have fled again, have doubled back no 
doubt along our very route, sitting on one and the same seat.' 
At the post-office they learn Jack Rascal's letters are to be sent 
on to Lucerne, and at once the telegraph is set to work, and 
within the hour there flashes back from Frankfort the message 
that Rascal passed through untroubled three hours ago, and by 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 349 

now is safe in Switzerland ; where, however, the police are warned, 
and no doubt will look after him. But, unhappily, there is 
wanting there in Switzerland an Extradition Treaty to get him 
away, and as they journey back, Dogberry ever dozing and dream- 
ing of the * Cheshire Cheese,' the Confidential Agent looks grave, 
and his mouth is grim. 

At Lucerne, then, lies Jack Eascal, in durance, and, so near 
and yet so far, is shown them by the tantalising Federal police. 
There he is, the scamp-hero of close upon a million of money ; 
there he is, eating a restaurant dinner sent in, and they cannot 
get at him. If you want him, M. Dogueberrie, declares the 
chef-de-police, you must make an application to the Federal 
Council at Berne, who will probably refuse it ; and if they don't, 
if they grant it, between now and then who knows what may 
happen? Then does the Confidential Agent recall his carte 
blanche of the plundered insurance company, and, taking the 
chef-de-police aside, thus reason with him, as man to man, as 
brother to brother. ' Come now, M. Bost, just consider, what on 
earth can a fellow like Jack Rascal matter to you, while to us you 
know very well how much he matters ? He has robbed us of a 
million of money ; he has done nothing to you, nor will do except 
cost you money to keep, and trouble to look after, and perhaps 
ultimately get away altogether, having been no good either to 
you or to us. Suppose you let us look after him for you. See 
here, M. Bost, we are dining to-night together at the " Adler " ; be 
a good fellow and join us, and bring your friend Jack Rascal with 
you ; we shall all be delighted to see you both. And if in the 
hurry of departure you leave your friend behind, as a stick or an 
umbrella such things are so easily forgotten, so easily happen 
after dinner be sure we shall take good care of him, if only for 
your sake. And further, M. Bost, before we part, whether you 
see your way to dining with us or not, accept from me, your 
personal friend and fellow-worker in the glorious cause of re- 
pressing crime, this trifling donation only a few hundred 
pounds ! to be applied by you to whatsoever charitable purpose 
you please, Home for Decayed Officers of Police, Benevolent 
Fund, Orphanage, whatever you will ! Depend upon it, we make 
no inquiries how it is applied, nor shall ever desire to see any 
receipts ; we shall never want to hear anything more about it. 
We only want you and Mr. Rascal to dine with us to-night, to 
come early, and stay late.' 



350 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

And Jack Rascal dines with them at the Hotel Adler, and is 
duly forgotten and left behind, Dogberry blinking at him and 
chuckling senilely the while, and is duly carried off, struggling 
and swearing, and duly appears at the Old Bailey, and is duly 
sentenced ; and all in spite of his counsel, who makes a great 
point of so monstrous a breach of international law, and demands 
with a thump on his knee that his client be replaced in Lucerne 
gaol. But * Gentlemen,' observes the judge to the jury in his 
blandest tones, ( gentlemen, believe me, it is no concern of 
yours or mine how the prisoner at the bar got here, how it is he 
figures before you in the dock. There he is, that is the main 
point, and, he being there, you have to deal with him according 
to the evidence and your consciences.' And so they do, and 
Mistress Jack bewails his loss for well-nigh twenty years, and 
now, under a sky of dappled serene, where let us hope she is 
happy, helps him fill a colonial appointment of some considerable 
dignity and emolument. And Dogberry went back to his watch- 
house and, wrapping his old gown round him and shouldering his 
staff, showed how the famous capture came about. 

Tramp, tramp across the land ; splash, splash across the sea ! 
rode Dogberry and the Confidential Agent fourteen days and nights, 
and the Confidential Agent, as he recalls it, lies back thoughtfully 
in his chair and plays abstractedly with another packet. What 
now ? we ask ; more crime, disaster, and intrigue ? or possibly an 
effervescence in the packet to raise our spirits, not depress them, 
a taste of fizzing human cheerfulness, perhaps some little comedy 
of the drawing-room ? 

The Confidential Agent frowns and thinks, hopes and fears ; we, 
in expectation, take the packet from him and examine for ourselves. 

Sitting in the low-browed room one summer's morning, dream- 
ing of country trees and country pastures, thick billowy hedges and 
the lowing kine ; back, perhaps, in his innocent Age of Marbles ; 
to the Confidential Agent, scenting in enchantment the May, there 
enters a young lady in agitation. One moment in Arcadia, the 
next in the Strand, such is ever the Confidential Agent's fate and 
our own. He was but just now tickling trout in Hampshire, and 
the next moment he is busy taking notes on half a sheet of paper 
of what the lady has to tell him. Just so, madam : exactly ! The 
Confidential Agent tries to look as though he had never heard 
anything like it before, promises he will do his best, and bows her 
out. She is very unhappy: her husband's manner has totally 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 351 

changed towards her within the last three months, she fears he no 
longer cares for her, she fears alas ! there is some one else. 
And you wish to have him watched, madam ? Yes, sir. It shall 
be done, madam, and the report of your husband's proceedings 
sent to you daily. 

Scarcely is the young lady gone, her veil down, her cab-door 
shut, when to the Confidential Agent, off wandering again in 
Hampshire with his hands in the water down at the town boys' 
bathing-place, there enters quickly a gentleman of middle age, 
himself also much agitated. The Confidential Agent has barely 
time to turn the sheet of paper for more notes, when he finds 
himself listening to a complaint from the male side, the avSpwvlris, 
of the same household. The middle-aged gentleman is very 
unhappy, he gives the Confidential Agent to understand ; his wife's 
manner has totally changed towards him within the last three 
months, he fears she no longer loves him, he fears alas ! there 
is some one else. And you wish to have her watched, sir ? Yes, 
I do, most decidedly. It shall be done, sir, and the report of her 
proceedings sent to you daily. 

Here you have it then, as close in the dark atmosphere as you 
can get to fun ; husband and wife both watched at the instigation 
of the other, reports of the comings and goings of each daily sent 
to each, no doubt read by each at the same time on opposite sides 
of the same breakfast-table. The gentleman reads his wife was 
yesterday in the Kow, visited the Stores, was there three-quarters 
of an hour, thence took a cab, went to tea in Bryanston Square, 
and came home again ; the lady that her husband was in the City 
by half-past ten, landed at a City club, took tea at the New Uni- 
versities, and came home again. Perhaps two more utterly peace- 
ful, commonplace lives never were so closely scrutinised as those 
of the worthy pair who, fearing the loss of each other's affections, 
were having each other watched. 

At the end of three weeks, ' Enough ! ' cried the gentleman, 
and ' Enough ! ' cried the lady, to the Confidential Agent. To- 
gether they cried, ' I am satisfied : my suspicions, I perceive, were 

, My husband ] 

utterly unfounded. You may withdraw your men. ,.- . . 

I see clearly to be as pure as the driven snow ! ' And that very 
evening, when ordinarily the gentleman would breathe ster- 
torously over the evening paper and the lady play softly to herself 
in the drawing-room firelight, each with a nervous clearing of the 



352 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

throat approached the other and declared they had something to 
say, something to confess. You can easily guess what it was. 
Can you not see them rush into each other's arms, that foolish 
couple ; can you not see the hansom that bears them next morning 
down to Eegent Street, where, as with the native Indian tribes, a 
Rumpoor chuddar shawl clenched the peace of this three weeks' war? 

No nearer to fun than that, oh Confidential Agent ! no nearer 
than that ? for, after all, that fun is somewhat dreary that leaps 
unwieldy with suspicion and mistrust. No nearer, at any rate, 
than this ! 

In the Regent's Park, within a monkey-chatter of the Zoolo- 
gical Grardens, there dwells alone in spinster magnificence a certain 
Miss Emma Precise, who, what with Brighton in November and 
Scarborough in August, and a couple of sluggish horses in brass 
harness along the Marylebone Road and out towards Hampstead 
all the rest of the year, goes as near making her fifteen thousand 
a year spin as one of her trim and cautious nature can go. She 
is Miss Crawley, apparently, with more than her solitariness and 
money ; though, in Scarborough one August, she does something 
Miss Crawley never would have done she falls in love. In 
Scarborough, then, last August, in the drawing-rooms she always 
occupies, patters in and out below her, in the dining-rooms, an 
elderly gentleman with an odd and crablike walk and the trick of 
always muttering to himself, a white umbrella under his arm and 
a hat tilted over his nose, well-nigh down to the roots of his close 
iron-grey whiskers; but, for all his queer manners, plainly a 
gentleman, both to Miss Precise and the faithful handmaid who 
does her wisps of hair for her at night. This odd, and to her 
intensely attractive, figure, with all the ardour of seventeen does 
Miss Precise begin to daily watch for, blink behind the blinds at, 
even use the opera-glasses on, as the unconscious owner struts along 
the parade or sidles up and down the Spa, having duly made him- 
self uncomfortable with a glass of the odious Northwater. Soon 
oh, mischievous God of Love ! ' Oh, naughty, naked little boy ! ' 
they pass each other going in and out, soon they bow, soon 
they speak, and, to omit the intermediate steps, soon does Miss 
Precise aim at Cancer, Esquire's, drab summer waistcoat her first 
deliberate shaft in the shape of a volume of Mrs. Browning, deftly 
parried by the tough targe of the * Saturday Review,' with which 
(as the Sabines did the traitress with what they wore on their left 
arms) he somewhat overwhelms her, accustomed hitherto to the 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 353 

pages of the * Kock.' In a word, all goes well as in the golden 
time ; Cancer, Esq., is plainly on the point of declaring himself, 
when one dark morning of eclipse Miss Precise misses him on the 
accustomed hill, opera-glasses no longer reveal him sidling along 
the railings, nor huddled against the arm of a seat with the * York 
Herald ' ; can it be the poor stricken deer has gone off in dumb 
grief alone into the greenwood to die, with Mrs. Browning, which 
he has forgotten to return ? Alas, it must be so ! ' Now will the 
poor wounded fowl creep into the sedge ' leaving behind him, 
too, a novel of Miss Austen's, which before his ill-mannered flight 
he has forgotten to reclaim. 

Miss Emma Precise goes as near hysterics as perhaps a lady 
of fifty-seven ever does go. Such a man as Cancer, Esq., in her 
world pilgrimage she never yet has met with. Gentlemen with 
hard eyes and hooked noses and beards just turning grey, gentle- 
men with caressing manners and large signet-ringed hands, 
gentlemen with confident rolling voices and tight trousers and 
large knee-joints, many of these she has seen, spoken with, and 
had to fly from in maidenly terror ; that description of elderly 
fortune-hunter which suggests the broken-down electro-biologist 
Miss Precise has had a large experience of. But a Cancer, 
Esq., who flees her, a Cancer that drops out of her sky and wheels 
round to light another atmosphere, an independent Cancer, a 
heavenly body owning no system, regulated by no laws why, 
that is something new to meet with at fifty-seven, and, half terrified 
at the skyey portent, what can she do but gasp and begin to cry a 
little ? Still there is hope that Cancer, Esq., is not utterly 
fled, not utterly broken up and merged in other systems, but only 
temporarily obscured ; hope that he will write for ' Mansfield 
Park ' and return ' Aurora Leigh ' ; but the days pass and the Spa 
crowds begin to thiD, the lights of the band grow gusty, and the 
leader conducts with his collar up ; the leaves fall, the schoolboys 
are back, and the swallows circling in doubt ; it is the end of 
September, and still no sign, no glimmer of Cancer light, no 
sound from the vast sidereal silence, that, though the sea rise and 
fall as ever, begins to grow oppressive. Enter here the Con- 
fidential Agent, summoned to the Kegent's Park, where, sleepless 
as Caligula, wanders Miss Emma Precise from chamber to chamber, 
peering at the heavens and calling frenetically on Cancer, Esq. 
Find him, Confidential Agent, she cries, find him and bring him 
to me ! Fly to him, dive giddily and swoop headlong round his 



354 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

gilded eaves, chirp to him and twitter twenty million loves ; fly 
to him and tell him that I love him. I, Emma Precise, prepared 
from henceforth and now, at this moment, to share with him 
Brighton in November and the sluggish horses in brass harness, 
panting round the Madeira and back again to Hove. Fly to him, 
go ! and for excuse take him back his book, ' Mansfield Park.' 

Not much of a clue this, ' Mansfield Park ' only with Cancer 
written in it, and all the people of the globe in whose society the 
owner may meantime have lost himself ! But the money is inex- 
haustible, and the carte blanche the size of a sheet of the old bed 
of Ware ; and blithe and buoyant off trips the Confidential Agent 
on his search, leaving the lora Emma at home as dripping in tears 
as the bowed autumnal laburnum in the grey October mist on her 
Regent's Park lawn. 

The Confidential Agent sweeps the face of the heavens with a 
patience that is an enthusiasm, and after many nights and many 
days there at last, tucked away in a snug corner of Worcestershire, 
he gets a glimpse of - - Cancer, Esq., hunting wirily five days a 
week, and running up to town on the sixth, to take up his abode 
in Bury Street, and his meals at the Conservative Club. Un- 
expected, rather, this ! for the Confidential Agent in his mind's 
eye had fashioned at the most of Cancer a sturdy solicitor or the 
keeper of a provincial museum, or, largest and widest of all, a 
solid merchant of the City of London with a Pembridge Square 
house ; and, behold, a country gentleman ay, and ratalorum I 
a country gentleman of fine estate and good family, to whom from 
a spinster of the Eegent's Park, old and unattractive, he, the 
Confidential Agent, has to carry a proposal of marriage, nothing 
more nor less. Awkward and delicate ! However, as we have 
written, the Confidential Agent will do most things for which you 
pay him, and, true to himself, he does this, or attempts it. 

To Crabtree Hall, then, five miles from Bingley, in Worcester- 
shire, he drives in the smartest of all the ' Red Lion ' flies, and 
noting the lodge and the park as he goes along, the many swing- 
ing gates in the winding drive, the clumps of fir, the bracken and 
the rabbits, glimpses even and flashes of dappled deer ; with a 
certain nervousness at the great hall door (with ' Vestigia nulla 
retrorsum ' over it) he asks for Mr. Cancer, and, with scarce a 
moment to compose himself, is shown to him straight, and with 
* Mansfield Park ' under his arm is forced to plunge at once into 
his business. He finds him in a room like a hothouse, tenderly 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 355 

waiting on an ancient father, who, with carefully shiny boots and 
a good book upside down in his lap wrapped in a red handkerchief, 
sits close to the fire; so deaf that, apparently, he has missed 
death's summons only said * Eh ? ' to him ! so blind that he 
has never seen him shake at him his dart. 

Let us, if only for Emma Precise's sake, cut short this painful 
interview, at the most sum it up in a few words. Cancer, Esq., 
Junior, remembers Scarborough perfectly, of course, and Miss 
What's-her-name ? Precise, yes ! and now what is it ? A book 
he lent her ; oh yes, to be sure ! very good of Miss Precise, but 
quite unnecessary. And a book she lent him? that he had 
totally forgotten abominably careless ! and, oh that we should 
have to write it, the ink at the end of our pen positively blushes ! 
but when the Confidential Agent, stuttering, unfolds the rest of his 
tale, makes clear the offer of Miss Precise, Cancer, Esq., Junior, 
fairly or unfairly, bursts out laughing. 

We can write no more. Greek-motherlike we avert our face, 
hide it in the folds of our dressing-gown, and over the return of 
the Confidential Agent and the scene in the Eegent's Park draw 
tenderly one of our ample embroidered skirts, which let no man 
attempt to approach or tamper with. 

This appears to be the most humorous, the most effervescent 
of our packets ; and with this it appears likely we shall have to 
be content, during the telling of which, as though precious time 
were being wasted, the red mouse sits scornful, and with a hollow 
drub beats her glowing little paunch ; and when it is done, an 
unearthly glitter in her tiny scarlet eyes, flicks her tail im- 
patiently and imperiously across another bundle of the papers, 
and with a wave of her thin paw directs us to open and read. 

Ah, a somewhat wider breath in this, a suggestion here of 
the haute politique! Intrigue, it is true, but intrigue not 
altogether so pitiful, so bald, so stuccoish as that of the London 
squares and the London suburbs; but with certain distant 
glimpses and flashes of a glittering Lutetia, who with her cymbals 
cracked, her chaplets torn, at this time lies panting in the muddy 
grip of the invading Teuton. As we open the packet we hear her 
send across to her ancient enemy shrill passionate cries for help ! 
* Surely ye who have /lanes along my boulevards will not thus 
suffer the asphalt of them to be thus ploughed and torn with shot 
and shell ? nor ye who have cried laughing in the Palais Royal 
permit the beds of the wounded to line thus pitifully the foyer 



356 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

and the corridors ? At least send us money to prolong the 
struggle ! ' 

Papers, these, that require the gentlest tissue handling, for 
here the names of the great begin to peer out on us, here world 
names are beaten from one side of London to the other as from a 
battledore. Let us tap them so fast that the bewildered spectator 
cannot read the name on each as it flies, that to the quickest eye 
it appears simply as a long blurred line of indistinguishable letters. 

Lutetia, as we say, shrieks thus in her strident voice for money, 
and, balloon-wise, over the cheveux-de-frise of Teuton bayonets, 
and far above the prick of the Uhlan lance, that shriek sails to 
us, till in intelligent businesslike form, with due and proper 
mention of percentage, it takes Threadneedle Street shape, 
becomes accepted and ratified with libations; Threadneedle 
Street agreeing to dine with the adventurous aeronaut, M. Paul, 
and his ambassador at his hotel in St. James' Street. 

So far it is plain enough, and further, observe, pray, that we 
have written some dozen lines or so and no mention as yet of 
anything approaching a teterrima causa ; what need, then, of the 
Confidential Agent ? Patience ! for already swishing round the 
corner we can hear the frou-frou of her dress already the tap 
of her bronze heel along the hotel passage. Patience ! she will 
be here in good time, she is here already. Madame Paul, the 
intrepid aeronaut's wife, descended in a right line from that 
flower-plucker, walker on the grass borders, and fence destroyer, 
Mother Eve. And there beside her at her elbow, guardian of the 
garden, appears the Confidential Agent, cane in hand and gold 
band round his hat. 

Madame Paul has also left Lutetia, edging her way through 
the bayonets and tripping with a shudder past the rain-stained 
tents, under the protection of a certain dangerously slim attache, 
and beneath the shadow of his embassy passport, who having 
done his cavaliership across the Channel, presumably leaves her 
at the hotel door of St. James, with the simple courtesy, Madame, 
au plaisir de vous revoir I Presumably only, alas ! And she 
should have been at the dinner-table head to cheer the counten- 
ances of the City magnates and wink her bright eyes at the 
beaded bubbles of their champagne. But at seven o'clock no 
Madame Paul, nor yet at half-past, nor yet at eight, when, alas ! 
they sit down. Madame appears to have left the hotel at five, 
and certainly at nine has not yet returned ; no, nor at half-past 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 357 

eleven, when the last of the heavy City merchantmen, each of 
them giving the impression of being hall-marked on every cable- 
link, drags himself away, and M. Paul, no longer able to contain 
himself, can at last give his anguish vent and tears off venire a 
terre to the Confidential Agent. 

' Cherchez ma femme ! ' he cries to the astonished man, 
blinking at him out of his first sleep, ' cherchez ma femme I ' and 
with his two fists in his eyes stamps and raves about the candle- 
lighted room. 

Let us pass over the scene that follows ; it is certainly very 
painful, and few are there but red mice that care to listen to the 
transports of outraged husbands the cries, the sobs, the oaths. 
Sufficient that the Confidential Agent, heavy with sleep at one 
in the morning, though with a certain knowledge of what he is 
talking about, promises M. Paul that by five to-morrow his wife 
shall be with him, or that at the least he shall know where to 
lay his hand upon her, if of her own accord she will not come. 

By nine o'clock next day the various reports of the Confidential 
Agent are in the master's hands, among them those of the watchers 
round the hotel in St. James's Street ; for ever since the war 
broke out, certainly ever since Lutetia has been in the toils, no 
foreigner of note leaving the country but has been spied upon, 
no individual has passed the lines but that individual's subsequent 
movements have been well known and reported instantly to the 
Teuton Government, in whose pay is the Confidential Agent; 
scarcely, indeed, a commercial traveller has landed at Dover but 
his features have been scanned and the Teutons have learned 
within four-and-twenty hours whether he has gone to Windmill 
Street or Castle Street with secret papers, or home to his faithful 
wife and his wedding-cake ornament under glass at Camberwell. 
No wonder, therefore, that the Confidential Agent knows some- 
thing of Madame Paul and Mr. Protocol, and makes the promise 
he does, though, as he confesses to himself in the morning, some- 
what hastily and rashly. By nine o'clock he learns from the report 
of his watchers that at five the preceding evening Madame Paul 
jumped lightly into a hansom waiting at the corner, in which 
hansom was a gentleman in waiting, also that the hansom drove 
Piccadilly wards and there well, there ? Well, there, at the Circus 
was lost sight of. Now, was ever anything ever so unfortunate ? 
The Confidential Agent sets himself down to brocd, and knowing 
something of the past career of the dangerously slim young 



358 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

attache under whose chivalrous escort Madame Paul threaded the 
Teuton maze, knows something too of his present life, and 
strongly suspects the gentleman in the cab to be identical with 
the gentleman who carried her so carefully through so many 
dangers, and left her at her husband's side with the mere polite 
' Madame, au plaisir de vous revoir.' This Mr. Protocol, be it 
said, he has never seen, but from his photograph, which he has 
had occasion to study, knows him perfectly. 

Down, then, he goes at once to hunt after the lost cab, whose 
number, of course, he possesses, and, happy fortune ! nimium 
fortunate ! there along the shady side of Piccadilly who should 
he see strolling but surely Mr. Protocol, and when he gets closer, 
not a doubt of it Mr. Protocol ! 

The Confidential Agent meets him with outstretched hand. 
* Mr. Protocol, my dear Mr. Protocol, how delighted I am to see 
you ! how long it is since we met ! ' Into which little trap Mr. 
Protocol tumbles, sufficiently at any rate for the Confidential Agent 
to see he is right, and while the attache protests he does not 
know him and never saw him before, evidently beginning to 
suspect, the Confidential Agent holds him tight in dexterous 
parrying easy converse, and only suddenly turns on him with the 
abrupt question, 'Mr. Protocol, where is Madame Paul ? ' giving 
him, till then, scarcely time to breathe. 

The sallow cheek of Mr. Protocol grows an indescribable un- 
pleasant colour. ' I don't understand you ! ' he stutters. 

1 Where is Madame Paul, sir ? ' reiterates sternly the Con- 
fidential Agent ; ' where is she, sir ? ' and again Mr. Protocol, the 
brass of him beginning to blink and harden, mutters he does 
not know what he is talking of, never saw him before, and would 
pass on. But the Confidential Agent will not be denied, takes 
him by the cuff, and draws him with the magic power of the 
Ancient Mariner into the courtyard of the Albany. ' Mr. Protocol, 
Mr. Protocol,' he says, almost in mirth, * this is not Lutetia, sir ; 
the laws and customs of Lutetia go here for next to nothing, 
except perhaps contempt. This is London, sir, be good enough to 
remember, where, though you may steal a man's wife, if you be 
scoundrel enough, yet you must not steal her clothes, which are 
her husband's property, remember. This is not the Kue de Kivoli, 
sir, but Piccadilly, where at one bound, from being the hero of 
the romance and hurry of an elopement, you may find yourself the 
next moment rubbing your eyes at Bow Street under the fearful 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 359 

spectacles of Sir Thomas and a committal for theft ! Now, 
sir, to escape that police constable, tell me, where is Madame 
Paul ? ' And the miserable Protocol, the curdled milkwhite of 
him changing now to a dingy mottled green and yellow, carries 
the Confidential Agent in silence northward, where in the dim 
neighbourhood of Euston sits Madame Paul, working pale at a 
trifle once destined for M. Paul, but which will now do equally 
well for Mr. Protocol. Just in time, that fortunate meeting in 
Piccadilly ; three hours later would have found them fled to 
Liverpool, and the next morning ploughing the muddy waters of 
the Mersey, past the booths and swings of New Brighton. 

At a glance the Confidential Agent sees with whom he has to 
deal, the femme a trente ans de Balzac, and takes his measures 
accordingly, begs Mr. Protocol to wait for him below while he 
has a quarter of an hour's quiet talk with Madame Paul, and 
knowing, as we have said, this Mr. Protocol, having in fact the 
dossier of him pigeon-holed at home, he unfolds it in speech and 
lays it before the startled eyes of Madame Paul in all its startling 
combination of black and white. Of course she will not believe : 
what woman ever will believe she has been deceived ? her pride, 
her vanity, perhaps her inexperience how many hundred films 
are there not that thickening finally go to blind and deafen her ? 
That Mr. Protocol is a common cheat, a cheap Mephisto of diplo- 
macy, she will not, dare not believe. It is all a trick of M. Paul to 
get her back M. Paul who does not understand her, who wearies 
her she will not go, she will not believe, she will not listen ! 

Then the Confidential Agent plays his last card, though well 
knowing the flimsy futility of it with such a woman as Madame 
Paul. ' You will go to New York, Madame,' said he ; * you will 
go to Washington, to Saratoga ; you will go here and there, and in 
all M. Protocol will remain with you about a month not more, I 
give you my word. In his care will, of course, be the keeping of 
all your money, all your jewelry, everything of yours of any value ; 
and within a month he will leave you, carrying off everything of 
yours on which he can lay his hands, and you will be left alone 
there, Madame, plantee la ' 

' G'est faux ! ' shrieked Madame Paul, rising furious. ' Je 
rientendrai plus. Henri I ' 

1 Plantee la,' calmly resumes the Confidential Agent, ' in the 
heart of America, alone and deserted. For such a day, which, as 
sure as I am here, Madame, will come to you, take and keep this 



360 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

note of fifty pounds, which I am directed to give you ; conceal it 
from Mr. Protocol ; money is always useful, and even if he stays 
with you who knows what may happen ? while, if my words 
should come true, when you find he has really gone and your 
eyes are really opened, buy a railway ticket with it, pay with it 
your passage -money, and return to your husband. It is impossible 
such a heart as his will ever be entirely closed against you.' 
And, frightened and subdued by the Confidential Agent's manner, 
Madame Paul takes the note trembling, or rather does not repulse 
it, but lets it lie there on the dingy lodging-house table-cover. 

* Meantime,' says the Confidential Agent, * sign, Madame, pray, 
this piece of paper, abandoning through it all power over your 
daughters. They must now be, of course, entirely and completely 
your husband's ; your authority over them must to-day absolutely 
come to an end.' And the cowed Madame Paul signs, with her 
teeth chattering, and the Confidential Agent buttons the paper 
inside his coat and bows himself away, not without sadness and 
foreboding ; with a side glance at Mr, Protocol trimming his nails 
over the blind in the room below, as he goes into the street. 

In the evening, at five, he goes to M. Paul. * Your wife is 
found, sir,' says he to him. 'I do not bring her with me, for 
she will not come, but I know where she is.' Poor M. Paul is 
humbled and stricken when he hears it all. * You are rid of a 
bad bargain, sir ! ' cries the Confidential Agent to the poor man 
with his bent shoulders. ' I know all about Madame ; she is not 
the wife for you ; she never has been fit to be the mother of your 
children. You are free of her now, and I give you my word it is best ! ' 
And to M. Paul he gives a few facts about this femme a trente 
ans which, of course, he has long known and duly docketed 
that at once straighten the bent shoulders with indignation and 
throw a dry fire into the eyes that just now were wet with tears. 
In the end, mastering himself, M. Paul avows his eternal obliga- 
tions to the Confidential Agent, swears never to see Madame again, 
even if of her own free will she return. * Ah, sir ! ' interrupts 
the Confidential Agent, who knows his own and the human heart 
better, 'don't be too hasty! you are both of you yet young, 
before you both there is yet a great deal of life. Madame will 
repent, you may depend upon it, and repent bitterly; I saw 
to-day some indications of it.' ' Ah, mon ami I ' ' And some day, 
M. Paul ; some day quand vous n'etes pas bien, some day when 
your what shall we say ? aches heart or stomach ? some day, 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 361 

believe me, when you are sighing for her, as some day you will, 
you will be only too happy to remember that, if she wishes it, she 
can return to you. She is not wholly and absolutely cut off from 
you, of that I have taken care remember it ! ' 

And some day it was, some day not long after, when the 
cloven foot of Protocol did not prevent him decamping, as was 
foretold of him, with the speed of a common thief, with all of 
Madame Paul's of value on which he could lay his hands ; to 
whom only was left the fifty-pound note sewn into her stays ; 
unripping which, with cries and tears of rage, she sailed home- 
ward with it back to France, and falling one night of summer 
across her husband's threshold, was tenderly raised by him, and 
till her death, not long after, tenderly cared for. For it is at 
once the glory and the shame of love that is true, that there is no 
offence, committed or to be committed, that in the torch fire of 
the god cannot be consumed ; no troubling of the flame that ever 
can extinguish it; no blasts, no tempests that, rage upon it, 
furious as they will, do not, after the wreaking of their worst, yet 
leave it burning as steadily, as devotedly as before. * How can you 
love your wife if she deceive you ? ' asked of him one of Moliere's 
friends ; * if a woman once deceived me, that fact of itself would 
make me cease to love her.' * Ah, my friend ! ' sighed Moli&re, 
' in saying that you tell me you have never really loved.' 

Note, by the way, that from Madame Paul, in desultory con- 
versation held before parting, the Confidential Agent learnt the 
exact day up to which Paris was victualled, and of which important 
date the beleaguering force were soon in possession. Madame 
Paul had wheedled it out of never mind whom ! 

Some hour or other there booms upon us now into the low- 
browed room from Westminster, but what it is we neither of us 
can tell, nor either of us scarcely notice ; for in the eyes of the 
Confidential Agent there beams the light of old triumphs, old 
successes, and in ours a curiosity that this side of midnight will 
not easily be quenched. ' More stories, oh Confidential Agent ! ' 
we cry ; * more of your adventures ! ' to which, as though the 
glaring vermin heard, the red mouse answers with a shrill cry, 
and, leaping an inch or two in the air, alights on this ! 

Deep in the calm cherry-heart of Kent, far even to this hour 
from the fluster of railways, deep only among hops and cowls of 
oast-houses, lies mouldering the long low country-house of the 
once great family of the Tanquerays. "We have no time to trace 

VOL. VI. NO. 34, N.S. 17 



362 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

their decadence from the Tanqueray of James the Just, who went 
to seek his fortune at Whitehall and found it there, lying chiefly 
in apostasy and on the ledges of the backstairs ; nor to give in 
detail all their present poverty, of money, of intellect, of influence, 
and, in the true sense, of blood ; it is enough to say that the best of 
the Tanquerays lie and kneel in Ightleigh Church ; above, around, 
and below the circular pew where, with its green baize table and 
its stove, to-day the thin-faced, red-haired head of the house 
stands with his stiff neck, and makes pretence to worship. His 
ancestors may sleep in peace if they can ; it is with him and his 
wife that we are now concerned. 

For well nigh a century the Tanqueray heir has gone to Rugby 
and thence to the bar, chiefly to qualify himself for the bench of 
magistrates, to have that stamp upon him which once was put on 
Justice Shallow and most, perhaps, when he fought with Sampson 
Stockfish, the fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. For that three years 
reading for the bar, those three years of lodgings in Half-Moon 
Street with the old family butler, was all of life the Tanquerays 
ever could afford to taste, all of freedom they ever knew ; and 
wild though these three years often were, no Tanqueray had ever 
yet carried a trace of them down to Ightleigh. They heard the 
chimes at midnight in their own fashion : some loud, some low, 
some fast, some slow ; but, having heard them, they were quite 
content for the rest of their lives to hear the bell for prayers at 
ten o'clock at home instead, and the cracked clock over the tumble- 
down stables as they lounged upstairs at eleven. The present 
owner is the first of the line who has ever dared Why, you have 
only to look at the present Mrs. Tanqueray to see with one glance 
of your experienced eye that she is as much out of place in 
Ightleigh as a milkmaid of Herrick's would be at midnight in the 
Strand. Pauca verba. 

Down to this Ightleigh comes the Confidential Agent, another 
strange figure among the hop-poles and the oast-houses, down 
he comes on a Tanqueray summons to get at the inner sense of a 
robbery that has just been perpetrated at the great house and 
that entirely baffles the penetration of the local force. A burglar 
in Ightleigh masks, revolvers, and stocking-feet impossible ! 
And yet Mr. Tanqueray, going into his wife's boudoir somewhat 
late in the afternoon, finds the door locked and, just about to 
force it, is confronted by a mask and a revolver, both of which 
go past him with cool determination, out into the night and dis- 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 363 

appear. With a trifling booty, only, that is the strange part 
only a trifling booty out of all the old Tanqueray jewels on which 
hands might have been laid. A London thief, evidently, says the 
local police ; disturbed ; and off with what he could get. Softly ! 
answers the Confidential Agent ; softly, not so fast ; I have other 
theories. Leave me, my brothers, I beg, for an hour or two to 
wander in the park this fair spring morning, to cool my hot 
London brow and to think ! 

Shall we give the results of those woodland deliberations on 
that fair spring morning, with the cuckoo shouting at the Con- 
fidential Agent, and the Confidential Agent saluting the loud bird 
with a polite wave of his high London hat ? Surely, since the 
first Tanqueray of James the Just laid the first red brick at 
Ightleigh, no stranger figure has ever kicked aside the heavy 
bracken, no bolder contrast between the old and the new has ever 
terrified the innumerable rabbits with their flashing stubbs of 
tails, BO accustomed to velveteens, so alarmed at a frockcoat. Two 
hundred years divides precisely these two personalities, Whitehall 
of James and Strand of Victoria Ah ! shrills the red mouse, 
but suppose you tell them who was the burglar ; for, after all, 
that's what they want to hear, and not Oh, the burglar ? Well, 
the burglar appears to have been an old lover of the wife's, a 
survival of the old London existence ; and it was her theatrical 
instinct had hurried him off in the manner above, with a diamond 
star in his pocket for her to wail over, duly returned later by 
post ; that's what he was, and those were the results of the wood- 
land deliberations of the Confidential Agent. 

No tale that we have had as yet so much delights the red 
mouse as this. She beats again, this time in ecstasy, her glowing 
paunch with her crumpled little fists, and could we bend but low 
enough, small doubt that we should hear the gurgle of inextin- 
guishable laughter, as she throws back her pointed head and well- 
nigh weeps with mirth. An old lover ! among the hop-poles and 
the oast-houses, in the calm cherry-heart of Kent, where there 
should be by rights naught but the crack of the merry carter's 
whip, the whisper of happy lovers by the murmuring mill wheel ; 
the hiss of the serpent and the beast's flat-head parting the ivy 
leaves that cling round the Tanqueray coat over the hall-door, 
the slimy undulations over the honourable motto ! An old lover ! 
and in this Kentish paradise ? oh, shame ! 

It is here the mention of the firearm that suggests to us the 

172 



364 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

question whether Jn all these schemes, intrigues, adventures, the 
Confidential Agent has ever gone in any fear, in any danger ; had 
ever found himself, for instance, opposite the round naught of a 
revolver-barrel, with the mute notice of no further, the mute 
direction of back! the journey come to nothing, ending in an 
explosive cul-de-sac if persisted in ? 

In answer yes ! As a family man the Confidential Agent was 
once certainly desperately frightened by one of the most desperate 
villains ever vomited out of a Continental slum and in this way. 
In the good city of Frankfort the Confidential Agent, seated once 
at the opera there, drumming his fingers to * Nobil Signer,' with 
a friend, superintendent of the Frankfort police, turns his head 
and his glass and sees behind him one Eink, well known as the 
boldest thief in Europe, and at that very moment wanted for a 
great bank robbery in Vienna. He sees him, he is sure of it, and 
so nudges and whispers his friend the superintendent, who also 
turns, but with a laugh declares, ' No ! not Kink certainly not 
not even like him ! ' But the Confidential Agent is sure, from 
Rink's manner, which begins to be uneasy, and from many personal 
signs ; for in his moments perdus, what more agreeable occupa- 
tion has he than to study the photographs of those who are 
wanted, especially those wanted badly ? this way and that, side- 
ways and upside down, through a microscope even he studies 
them, until he learns every turn of the face, every peculiarity ; 
and, under whatsoever disguise they may be, never fails to recog- 
nise a brow, a nose, a mouth, that in all probability in life he has 
never set eyes on. So though on Eink till this moment he has 
never set eyes, he is certain it is he, and proposes there and then 
to arrest him. Not on the authority of the superintendent ! but 
there in one of the boxes sits the director himself, and while the 
nuns are limping in their ghastly revels in the convent church, 
the Confidential Agent pays the box a visit, introduces himself, gets 
the necessary order, and determines there and then to execute it. 

To be brief, they pursue Eink to his hotel, and there, bluster 
and fume and foam as he may, they manage to secure him, and 
proof of his identity there in his portmanteau light on a flimsy 
bundle of notes, scoring up to the tune of 14,000?., proceeds 
without a doubt of the great robbery of the Vienna bank. Eink 
at last secured, to the joy and envy of all police Europe, by 
the sharp eyes of the Confidential Agent. Photography, as the 
* Times ' heads an article on the capture, photography the best 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 365 

detective after all ! The same Eink, who was afterwards tried at 
Vienna, gets twenty years in the fortress of Schaltz, on the Danube, 
and before his removal from the dock finds time to turn on the 
Confidential Agent there in court, and swear with a horrible oath 
that out of Schaltz he will climb or crawl, throw himself or fly, 
and, once only free, make it then the business of his life to take 
that of the Confidential Agent. In which, perhaps, there does 
not seem on first glance to be much, mere wind and fury signify- 
ing nothing. The threats of criminals, declares Vidocq, who had 
a large experience of them, are scarcely worth the air into which 
they are breathed ; for a criminal thinks of plunder, not of 
murder ; he is after money, not your life ; and though, if you 
present him or stand deliberately in his way, he will do his best 
to kill you, he will not, as a rule, go in search of you merely to 
gratify revenge. As a rule ! but Rink was an exception. The 
most desperate criminal, the most determined prison-breaker, the 
coldest cruellest villain that ever lied to or cheated man or woman 
to have such a man on your track, to have such a man swear to 
kill you, was enough to make the blood of even the Iron Duke 
run cold ! Much more that of a Confidential Agent and a family 
man, who in both capacities bought himself a weapon of defence, 
and began to keep with care to the better lighted sides of the 
streets. In the meantime, Rink safe, thank heaven ! in Schaltz ; 
Schaltz that overhangs, inaccessible, the beautiful blue Danube ; 
safe in Schaltz, fourteen hundred feet above the water's edge, in 
which blue water a peach-stone from Rink's cell window might be 
dropped with ease ; safe at present, but for how long ? 

Comes to the Confidential Agent one black afternoon a certain 
Dr. Drogue, a Frenchman with a large clientele among rogues 
for rogues must at times be doctored ; the devil himself, you re- 
member, at times is sick a large clientele among that floating 
class of foreign scamp that robs hotels and cheats tradesmen, and 
marries and deserts poor suburban heiresses ; comes to him and says, 
owing him a good turn, * Take care of yourself, mon ami ; see 
where you go these next few weeks. Yesterday Martin and Franke 
left London for Schaltz, with a scheme for Rink's escape, with 
whom they have managed to be in communication this month past. 
He will be sure to break through ; you know no prison in Europe 
has ever held him for long, and his first visit will be to you, he 
has sworn it. Take care of yourself mind, I give you warning ! ' 
The Confidential Agent's hand trembles as he writes a telegram 
to the governor of the fortress Schaltz, to be on the watch for 



366 LIZ CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

two men who are on their way there to assist Kink to escape ; 
and in an hour or two receives the laconically scornful reply, 
* Thanks, but there are not often escapes from Schaltz.' No, not 
often escapes from Schaltz, nor often Kinks in durance vile there ! 
for, lo ! within six-and-thirty hours is flashed to the Confidential 
Agent the appalling message, * Rink ent/loh diesen Morgen aiw 
Schaltz ' Rink escaped this morning from Schaltz ! Escaped this 
morning ? and here to-morrow, or next day at the latest ? then 
Heaven help the Confidential Agent ! And now, in Aristophanes' 
fashion, rather irapa Trpoa-So/ciav, comes to the reader what most 
will feel to be a disappointment, though to the Confidential Agent 
an undoubted relief ; for, through Rink did indisputably escape, 
out of Schaltz infirmary, where he lay, with the sympathetic help 
of the nuns never was there a man who could easier twist a 
woman to his will ! though he escaped and got clean away and 
never was recaptured, he never came near the Confidential Agent ; 
and from that day to this, beyond a terrible fright, has never 
done him any manner of harm. Nay, more, from that day to this 
has never even been heard of ; in the remotest, faintest echo, 
either for good or for evil ; but with his ferret nose in the air has 
apparently stepped sheer off the edge of the world and vanished ; 
perhaps to break with aerial burglary into some great fixed star, 
or trouble the placidity of the shimmering milky way with strange 
and monstrous crimes. 

One more tale of a rogue, wholesomely baffled by the Confi- 
dential Agent in the very nick of time ; and though the papers are 
still deep as autumn leaves about our feet, and still there is life in 
the red mouse, yet we must cease from their perusal, for the night 
deepens and broadens and our space narrows. This, then, is the last. 

The Count d'Alberg, with fair whiskers and moustache and 
fair hair centre-parted, desires to ally himself with a highly 
respectable, almost distinguished, family at Richmond ; the con- 
necting link to be the attractive and only daughter, who is blest 
with a neat little fortune of fifteen thousand pounds. One day 
there visits the Confidential Agent a gentleman to consult him in 
the matter of this same Count d'Alberg, to inquire if anything be 
known of him, his family, his pretensions to nobility ; if, in short, 
there be any reason why as amicus foci he should forbid his banns 
of marriage with the Lass of Richmond Hill ? whose head being 
somewhat turned by the flash round it of this foreign coronet has 
discarded the inquirer, with no other recommendations, unfor- 
tunately, than his fidelity and a strict attention to business, 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 367 

neither of them qualities of the flash-dazzle order. Exit the 
Confidential Agent to consult his dossier, with the strong notion 
of finding in it something distinctly to the Count's disadvantage, 
the dossier in this case being the Allgemeiner Polizei-Anzeiger, 
a mysterious paper that circulates among the police of the world, 
in which are notices of the careers of rogues wanted and rogues 
secured and disposed of, with in many cases their photographs, 
and in all their personal marks and peculiarities. Among them, 
sure enough, the Count d'Alberg, and in the Allgemeiner Polizei- 
Anzeiger many reasons why the^ banns of marriage should be 
forbidden with the Lass of Eichmond Hill. Cast your eye for 
one moment over his dossier and see if it be not so. 

The Count d'Alberg, alias de This, de That, and d'Other, 
aged 30, height 6'2|. Here follow personal marks and peculiari- 
ties. Filius nullius, he was born in Dublin, and from the age 
of eight years has been in and out of prison as often as the 
meteorological figure of the man is in and out of his little house, 
which, as all know, is as often as the weather changes. Convicted 
at eight years old of robbery, at fourteen of robbery with violence, 
at sixteen of burglary, at twenty sentenced to transportation for 
a great robbery at Liverpool, where five of tihem got clear away 
with 17,000., and might have had it till this day had they not, 
as thieves do, quarrelled over the division and so let in the police 
upon them. Capture, transportation, escape, &c. &c. ; quid 
plura ? Enough here surely to prove that the Count d'Alberg is 
scarcely the man for the Lass of Eichmond Hill, his scarcely the 
arms to carry her off amid the rustled congratulations of every 
hamadryad in the park, nor his scarcely the career to be brightened 
by the charms of this lass so neat, with smiles so sweet ! 

There is to be a dinner-party at Eichmond that evening to 
introduce the Count d'Alberg to the family and relatives of the 
lady he has won so impudently, and down to that dinner-party 
journeys the Confidential Agent, the guest of the inquirer of the 
morning, who, as an old lover to whom something is due, finds no 
difficulty in introducing him in the house, nor in introducing him 
to Count d'Alberg, to whom the Confidential Agent bows, and 
talks distantly about the weather. After dinner, the ladies gone, 
the Count's health drunk, scarcely are the heel-taps vanished, 
when ' Excuse me, Count,' calls to him from the other end the 
Confidential Agent, * but will you tell me how you spell your 
name ? I knew some one of your name once.' And the Count 
spells it with a touch of defiance in his voice, having, with the 



368 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

rogue's keen instinct, scented here the presence of an enemy. 
' Ah ! ' replies the Confidential Agent, incisively, * did you always 
spell it that way ? Did you never spell it so ? ' rapping out 
one of the Count's many aliases. Dead silence, the Count pale 
as death, glaring and swearing he does not know what is meant ; 
the guests wondering what is coming, who the unknown is, the 
old lover enchanted. 'Or so?' repeats the Confidential Agent, 
rising, with another alias, 'or so ? ' with another and another. 
And are you not this, and did you not do that ? And, in one 
word, how dare you be here in England, in Richmond, when you 
should be lagging your time in the colonies, doing odd jobs about 
the verandahs and mending thS station fences ? 

Terrible consternation, the Count d'Alberg appealing with 
yellow lips to his host to protect him from insult, from the blind 
charges of intoxication ; stutters he never saw the man before, 
cannot guess to what he refers, rises as though to put an end 
to it and go into the drawing-room. ' Before you go into the 
drawing-room,' dauntlessly cries the Confidential Agent, ' come 
into the next room with me, and I will show you the marks you 
have on you that will prove I know what I am talking about. 
Come, that will settle it, once and for all ! ' But the Count has 
had enough, will do no such thing, will be insulted no longer ; 
and, making his way unsteadily to the door, half bows to the 
company and goes out into the hall. Followed by the old lover, 
who never was so radiant, and who, with the Confidential Agent, 
sees that the Count takes his right hat, opens the door for him, 
watches him down the drive out into the utter blackness ; and 
returning executes a pas seul of rapture on the door-mat, that, 
turns out to be the first of his marriage festivities with the charm- 
ing Lass of Eichmond Hill. Sic semper prcedonibus ! 

If, as we have written, there were more of the night for us 
and of these pages we could make a palimpsest, no end would 
there be to these stories, nothing could stop the flow of our pen ; 
for the packets still lie in numbers about our feet, among which 
the red mouse still leaps and flickers in ecstasy, inviting us to go 
on and tire not. For see, here you have a man ridded in the most 
cunning yet simple fashion of an importunate woman ; here a 
gentleman relieved of a lady whom in a moment of expansion he 
had offered marriage to, and who chased him over two continents 
to make him fulfil the promise ; here a cheating groom captured 
and convicted in a manner almost laughable, if crime ever be 
laughable ; here the story of a child in a cab, handed out through 



CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 369 

the window to new parents purchased for gold ; here a veritable 
mystery of a Derbyshire village that still wants an explanation 
here, in short, still lie waiting the telling half the stories of the 
troubles, intrigues, and miseries of a great city ; half the revela- 
tions of that which, though so many call it life, by many more is 
better recognised as death. Ex pede Herculem from what we have 
written, the rest of the immane corpus will be easily guessed at. 
Of the work the Confidential Agent does, and the way he does 
it, of the men and women with whom he deals, of the Confidential 
Agent himself, those who read between the lines, those who from 
what is said gather what is not, will fey this time have some 
shrewd idea. They should know, however, as indeed they may 
surmise, that there are, of course, degrees of them. There are 
Confidential Agents as eminently respectable as the nature of 
their calling will permit, and Confidential Agents as precisely 
the reverse which also the nature of their calling will permit. 
There are men, honest men, doing a legitimate business, such as 
it is, and men who are nothing of the kind ; men who come and 
go from the tops of the high Strand houses, who are wanted by the 
police or who have been and have eluded them, who haunt low race 
meetings and betting public-houses ; men who, when they are in 
trouble, lie low until the air clears, and then reappear in sealskin 
waistcoats to open new offices and begin afresh. In short, as in 
the case of the stories we have told, it must appear that in some 
the Confidential Agent has behaved well and in others ill, that in 
some his flight has been as straight as the arrow from the bow 
and in others as crooked as that of a bird with one wing ; so in 
the calling itself it is clear that there are Agents whose methods 
are consistently good, and others whose methods are as consist- 
ently bad ; for, naturally, what we have written is not the actual 
extract of one individual, but the essence of them all, the good 
and the bad, stirred, seethed, and skimmed in one huge Warwick 
porridge- cauldron. 

As we stroll homewards down the thronging Strand, now full 
of clustering, pushing theatre-goers, there is a new interest for us 
in regarding them, a new speculation as to how many among 
them are at this moment drifting into the hands of the Con- 
fidential Agent, weaving him a skein to unravel and untie, 
knotting together their hands and their feet, and with their 
mouths offering him a knife to sever the cramping-bonds. To 
the superficial ordinary eye, how commonly vacant, commonly 

175 



370 CONFIDENTIAL AGENTS. 

good, commonly bad, commonly respectable, commonly uninterest- 
ing, do not all these ordinary faces look ; but under these ordinary 
suburban, omnibus, tramcar exteriors, consider what passions, 
what vices, nay, what crimes, are perhaps at this very moment at 
work, boiling and bubbling and frothing. To the ordinary eye 
what is there more honest, simple, mirthful, than Hogarth's 
Laughing Audience ? but to eyes trained and developed by the 
Confidential Agent why, our pen shakes and quivers at the 
thought of what we now believe those obstreperous groundlings 
capable the revenge, the scheming, the intrigue! Laugh as 
they may now, with their wigs off in the July heat and their 
cheeks laid against the pit spikes to cool, how long will it be 
before they are whining in tears, lying, grovelling, cheating, 
backbiting ? 

But shall we believe the Confidential Agent ? Is, after all, 
all that he tells us true ? Why not ? Who can pretend to have 
probed the height and depth of good and evil of which human 
nature is, or may one day be, capable ; who can say that all the 
stories have been told, all the combinations and permutations 
made ; is humanity un homme fini beyond which there is no 
advance; have the heights of virtue, the depths of vice, been 
completely scaled and explored ; in a word, does nothing remain 
for humanity in either direction to accomplish ? The completely 
good, the completely bad, does not as yet enter into most men's 
philosophy, gives no indication of existence, unless it be upon 
the stage ; but that most perfect and brave Christian gentleman, 
Colonel Newcome, has his moments of unreason and irritation, 
and the most sombre of our villains will cry over children or 
canaries, and whip round on the reading of a poem or even the 
striking of a clock, from forger and murderer clean round to 
churchwarden. So that still, it is clear, in both directions, up and 
down, much remains for us to do ; heights of virtue to be trod 
more firmly, profundities of vice to be more completely enjoyed, 
more determinedly adhered to. And of these two magna opera 
the Confidential Agent appears to us in the latter direction to 
have done and still to be doing something, in the way of an 
assurance of the existence in life of some one really wholly bad, 
without one tiresome redeeming virtue, one annoying civilised 
inclination or taste. 

Not one redeeming virtue, or shred, or hint of one ; a figure 
wholly and entirely black just think of it. Tiens, c'estjoli! as 
the Frenchwoman cried on first sight of St. Peter's at Eome. 



COURT ROYAL. 

A STORY OF CROSS CURRENTS. 
BY THE AUTHOR OF ' JOHN HERRING,' ' MEHALAH,' ETC. 



CHAPTER XLIX. 
AN APRIL FOOL. 

GrKEAT change had come 
over Lazarus. Whether 
it dated from the sprout- 
ing of the moustache, or 
from the conference at 
Court Boyal, and the final 
imposition of terms on the 
great family, could not 
be determined by Joanna 
with nicety. She thought 
that the change began 
with the moustache and 
ripened after the latter 
event. Lazarus was elate. 
Old Cheek had retired 
without interference, and, 
now that his heart was 
lifted up, he was more 
liberal than when he consented to an occasional bloater. Indeed 
this liberal tendency had swelled into large proportions. He had 
not shrunk from saddle of mutton with onion sauce, nor from 
fillet of veal with stuffing, nor from sirloin of beef and Yorkshire 
pudding only at pork he had drawn a line, for he was strict in 
his Hebraic prejudices. 

* Have pig's puddings if you like, Joanna. Don't let my in- 
clinations bar your way yet, perhaps, such is the delicacy of your 
feelings, you don't like to eat and see me fast.' He spoke thickly, 
making strange efforts with his mouth to get out the words. 

* What is the matter with you, Mr. Lazarus ? Your speech is 
queer, and your appearance changed ' Joanna stopped short, 




372 COURT ROYAL. 

and stared. Lazarus opened his mouth. He had provided himself 
with a double set of artificial teeth. 

' I thought I'd electrify you,' he said. ' Yes I've had my 
jaw taken in hand by an artist a dentist. Cost me a lot of 
money, Joanna, the charge was outrageous a fancy price as for 
an object of vertu. But, so long as it pleases you, I don't care.' 

' I wish,' said Joanna, ' that you'd be more particular about 
your hair, Mr. Lazarus. You make your pillow as black as if you 
used your head for a flue brush.' 

Lazarus looked down. 

* You used to have grey hair.' 

'Not grey,' said the Jew ;' just a speckle here and there 
like wood anemones in a grove.' 

'But now your hair is glossy black. Don't use your head 
again on the chimney. If you object to a sweep I will use a 
holly bush.' 

' It is not that,' he said, humbly. 

' Then what is it ? ' 

'Dye,' he replied, with deepened colour, a coppery blush. 
' Dye that costs me five shillings. I've gone through a course of 
Zylobalsamum and Eau des Fees. There, Joanna, if I blacken 
my pillowcase I am sorry. Henceforth I'll tie a black silk hand- 
kerchief round my head when I retire to bed.' 

' What was that concern I found on the chair in your room, 
this morning ? ' 

' My stays,' whispered the Jew. 

' Stays ! ' echoed Joanna. 

' Call it corset,' said Lazarus. ' It sounds more aristocratic. 
My figure wants it.' 

* What next ? ' asked Joanna, contemptuously. ' Are you 
coming out in knickerbockers and a Norfolk blouse ? ' 

' I don't like irony,' said the Jew ; ' it hurts my feelings, 
which are ticklish as the soles of my feet. Joanna ! what say you 
to a picnic? A jaunt to Prince's Town, on the moors, in this 
brilliant spring weather, and a look at the convicts so as to 
combine moral edification with pleasure ? ' 

' I should like it.' 

' You shall have it. Express a wish, and I fly to fulfil it. I 
have even forestalled your wishes. I've invited the old lady from 
the ham and sausage shop to join us as a sort of chaperon, you 
understand.' 



COURT ROYAL. 373 

'When is this to be?' 

' On Sunday, when no business is doing. A carriage and 
pair, in style. It will cost a lot, too, but what of that, if it give 
Joanna pleasure, and the mountain air bring roses to her cheeks, 
and the sight of the prisoners inspire her heart with virtue.' 

* Why have you invited Mrs. Thresher ? ' 

1 As a chaperon. But,' with a chuckle, * if it would suit 
you better, Joanna, to come alone with me, I'm as I always am 
and must be agreeable. The weight will be less for the horses. 
The ham and sausage woman weighs ten stone before her dinner. 
Not that we shall be charged less for going without her but we 
shall have to feed her out of our pockets. There is that to be 
considered. If I order a dinner at six shillings, and there are 
only ourselves to eat it, we shall consume three shillings' worth 
each, whereas if Mrs. Thresher comes we shall be limited to two. 
That has to be considered. However, it is for you to decide. I'll 
regulate my appetite by your decision.' 

As Joanna said nothing, he added, ' There is another point 
worth weighing. If the ham and sausage lady comes, I must 
sit with my back to the horses ; that makes me bilious, and 
spoils my relish of the victuals. Where you pay you expect 
to relish. It wouldn't be etiquette to set a lady rearwards to 
the horses, would it? But no I'll manage. We'll have a 
wagonette ! ' 

'There's one thing I should like above every other,' said 
Joanna ; * that is, to go to the ball.' 

1 The ball ! But I can't be there.' 

4 That will not affect my pleasure. You have spoiled my fun 
more than once. I was to have gone to a grand dance at Court 
Koyai, but could not, because of your affairs. Now the spring 
ball is about to come off, and I should dearly love to be there.' 

Lazarus rubbed his head, then looked at the palm of his hand, 
upon which the dye had come off. 

' Joanna,' he said, * you don't consider. These balls are very 
select ; only ladies of the county families, and the wives and 
daughters of officers. No second-rate parties there ' 

' I don't want to go to any second-rate affair. The best, or 
none at all.' 

'But I don't see my way to manage it. You'd want a 
chaperon, and the old lady from the ham and sausage shop is 
not quite, as the French put it, cream of the cream.' 



374 COURT ROYAL. 

* I remember that you once told Mr. Charles Cheek that you 
could send me to any ball you had a mind to, and no lady dare 
refuse you.' 

1 1 was romancing,' said the Jew ; * I'm by nature an Oriental, 
and prone to soar into poetry.' 

* I will go,' said Joanna, decisively. 

* I can't find the way to do it,' answered Lazarus. 

' Very well ; go to the moors with Mrs. Thresher, eat your 
three shillings' worth. I will remain behind.' 

' Oh, no, no, Joanna ! I've set my heart on this excursion.' 
' And I have set mine on the ball.' 
' I'll see about it,' muttered*the Jew. 

* I shall not give a thought to the moors. You need have no 
dread of sitting with your back to the horses. You can lounge in 
the back seat with Mrs. Thresher.' 

1 Joanna ! I would not go without you. My body would be 
on Dartmoor, but my soul would remain at the Barbican. If you 
could see inside my heart,' he said in a pathetic tone, * you'd 
behold your own self curled up there like a maggot in a hazel 
nut. But there, I'm launching into poetry again.' 

Joanna vouchsafed no remark. He sat and watched her, but 
she showed no symptoms of relenting. 

' I'm not now what I once was,' he went on. ' Then I had an 
object before me for which I toiled and stinted. Now that object 
is attained, and I need stint and toil no more. Hitherto life has 
been to both of us a time of privation, now it shall become a 
holiday. I will deny you nothing on which your heart is set. I. 
have money in abundance, and as you have helped me to make it, 
you must help me to spend it. If you want rings, take them 
from my drawer. Chains and bracelets are at your disposal. 
Select what gowns you like, they are all yours.' 

' Gro to bed,' said Joanna ; * the whisky has got into your old 
head.' 

After that she would not speak to him. He made many 
attempts to draw her into conversation, but all failed. When he 
was about to retire to rest, he stood in the doorway, the picture 
of distress, and sighed, and said in a soft tone, ' Good-night, 
Joanna.' 

She poked the kitchen fire savagely, and said nothing. 

* Won't you say " good-night " to me who've been so kind to 
you?' 



COURT ROYAL. 375 

Still no answer. 

4 I'll think^about the ball, Joanna.' 

Still obdurate. 

' You you shall go to the ball, Joanna.' 

* Good-night, Mr. Lazarus.' 

The change in the Jew's manner caused the girl uneasiness. 
She was shrewd enough to see what it meant. He had fallen in 
love with her after a peculiar fashion. For a long time he had 
used her as a drudge, as a mere slave, without compunction what 
he laid upon her and how hard he treated her. By degrees he 
came to realise the value of her services, and he began to ask 
himself what would become of him were they withdrawn. Where 
could he find a substitute ? She had grown into his ways, to 
understand his requirements, almost to think his thoughts. She 
had been educated in the business and comprehended it thoroughly 
in all its parts and turns. Then, when he had come to appre- 
ciate her worth to him, Charles Cheek appeared on the stage, 
admiring her, hanging about the house, and threatening, as the 
Jew feared, to carry her off. Alarmed at the prospect of losing 
her, his eyes opened to the fact that she was grown to be a 
woman, and a beautiful woman. He grew jealous of the visits of 
young Cheek, and jealousy, bred in self-interest, awoke a sort of 
monkey-love in the old man. His wife was dead and he was 
free. 

Joanna did not, perhaps, read all that passed in his mind, but 
she read enough to be uncomfortable in his presence, and to repel 
his advances with decision. 

She used his infatuation as far as served her purposes, but she 
kept him well at bay. Several times when they were together, 
she noticed that he was working himself up to a declaration of 
his sentiments. The sure sign of this was his helping himself 
repeatedly to the spirit-bottle. When he did this the girl left 
the kitchen, and did not return till his courage had evaporated. 

Formerly the Jew had drunk nothing but water, only occasion- 
ally mixed with whisky. Of late he had enlarged his doses, not 
of water, but of whisky. He sometimes pressed her to take hot 
spirits and water, to sip some from his glass, on the pretext that 
she had taken a chill, but she steadily, even rudely, refused. 

Lazarus was disagreeable enough in his earlier bearish mood, 
he was worse in his later loving mood ; and, in spite of the increased 
comfort in the house, Joanna would gladly have returned to the 



376 COURT ROYAL. 

former state of affairs, to be freed from his ungainly and irksome 
amiabilities. 

Joanna was not happy. She had not seen Charles Cheek for 
some time, nor heard more of him than a report brought by 
Lazarus, that he had been to his father and that the old man had 
forbidden his return to Plymouth, the scene of so many follies. 

The day fixed for the excursion to Prince's Town broke bril- 
liantly. 

Dartmoor is a high barren region, rising from two to three 
thousand feet above the sea, towering into granite peaks, broken 
by brawling torrents. In the heart of this desolate region, and in 
the most desolate portion, in a .boggy basin devoid of picturesque- 
ness, stands the convict prison of Prince's Town, above the line 
where corn will ripen and deciduous trees will grow ; often enve- 
loped in vapour, exposed to every raging blast from the ocean. 

To pass from the warm, steamy atmosphere of Plymouth to 
the cold and bracing air of Prince's Town, is almost a leap from 
the hot into the frozen zone. The drive was delightful. Joanna 
and Mrs. Thresher sat facing the horses, and the latter talked 
of the drop in the price of pork and the quality of imported 
bacons, during the greater part of the way. The Jew occupied 
the position that disagreed with him. Joanna entreated him to 
change seats with her, but his gallantry was proof against her 
solicitations. He cast yellow, malevolent glances at Mrs. Thresher, 
who made no such offer, which, had it been made, he would have 
accepted. He maintained his place, sitting sideways, and his face 
became momentarily more sallow. He wore a straw nautical 
hat, with a blue riband about it with fluttering ends, and in 
golden characters on the front, an anchor and the name ' Nau- 
sicaa.' His black vest was very open, exhibiting a starched white 
front set with coral studs, and a black tie a la Byron slipped 
through a cornelian ring. Over his waistcoat dangled a massive 
golden chain, and his fingers were covered with rings. 

As the unfortunate man became really unwell, the ladies 
insisted on his mounting the box. * But then,' said he gallantly, 
' I am turning my back on the finest view,' and he bowed to 
Joanna and raised his cap, exposing a very discoloured lining. 

Joanna enjoyed the drive, especially that part of it when 
Lazarus was not opposite her, getting yellow in face and grey in 
Up. 

She did not talk to Mrs. Thresher ; she was not interested in 



COURT ROYAL, 377 

Americati bacon ; she was engaged in looking about her, at the 
views, the hedges, the rocks, the rushing stream that danced and 
feathered over the granite boulders. The hedges were starred 
with primroses. Here and there they were white, and here and 
there pink. The larks were singing and twinkling high aloft, 
the busy rooks were cawing and flashing in the sun-light, looking 
sometimes white. From the beech-grooves came the liquid coo 
of the doves, and the gush of the throstle's song, and the fluting 
of blackbirds. Nature teemed with music, poetry, and the exuber- 
ance of life. Only one thing lacked, thought the girl, to make 
the day perfect, Charles Cheek should have been there with his 
joyous humour and lively prattle. At length they reached Prince's 
Town, and ordered dinner at the inn. Whilst the meal was in 
preparation, the holiday makers wandered about the prison, and 
watched the warders and the convicts. 

* This is very improving,' said Lazarus. * It screws up our 
morals like the tuning of fiddles. You see, Joanna, the miserable 
end of men who allow themselves to be found out.' 

After dinner, Joanna slipped away, to be alone in the wilder- 
ness, and inhale with long draughts the sparkling air that pours 
into the lungs like atmospheric champagne. She climbed a height, 
and ensconced herself among the piles of granite, away from the 
cold wind, in the glow of the glorious sun. To the south lay 
Plymouth harbour and the glittering sea. Fold on fold of blue 
hill stretching away for miles to the rugged peaks of the Cornish 
moors lay to her right. 

As she sat in her nook, believing herself alone, she was dis- 
turbed by a head with a sailor hat protruding itself from behind a 
rock. In another moment, Lazarus was before her. He threw 
himself in the short grass at her feet, picked a rush, and nibbled 
at the end. 

4 Joanna,' he said, ' why did you run away ? Why did you 
leave me with old Thresher ? What do I care for old Thresher ? 
I brought Thresher to-day as gooseberry picker. In the upper 
walks of life, to which we are going to belong, gooseberry pickers 
are the thing. Young people must have them as incumbrances 
when out junketing. I've left old Thresher examining some pigs 
fed by the warders off the scraps left by the convicts. Did you 
mark how the old lady ate ? I did. It was a race between us ; 
especially over the roily-poly pudding. She didn't want to have 
the doughy end without the jam, and I was determined she 



378 COURT ROYAL. 

should. A roily-poly has but two ends, not three, so two must 
have ends, and only one can enjoy the middle. I was resolved 
that you should have the best part, and that Thresher and I 
should have the ends. I cared for your interests above my own, 
you'll allow that, Joanna. I took one end, and Thresher pulled a 
mow when I gave her the other. Did you see it ? But you had 
the middle, oozing out with whortleberry jam ; and that shows, 
if demonstration were needed ' (he lowered his voice), * how I 
regard you. I wouldn't have done that in the old days, would 
I?' 

' No, sir ! ' 

* And let me assure you o, this, Joanna, the round globe does 
not contain another woman for whom I would do it now.' He 
took off his hat, and exposed his forehead scored with a black ring. 
* I hope you see, Joanna, what a change has taken place in my 
feelings towards you. You may have noticed in me the wakings 
of tenderness of late. Ah, Joanna ! do me a favour ! You 
saved my house from fire, my property from burglars, my throat 
from their murderous knife. Save now my heart from despair. 
I offer you my hand ; let us walk together down the flowery path 
of life, with the roses blushing in our way and the doves cooing 
over our heads, and with plenty to eat and drink on the journey. 
Spend, Joanna, what money you like, eat what dainties you desire, 
dress in what clothes you fancy, and picnic when and where you 
will. Oh, Joanna, " that we two were maying," as the song goes, 
together through life without a Thresher at our side as a sharer of 
our pudding. Cease to consider me as your master, and accept 
me as your husband.' 

Then Joanna burst into a ringing laugh. 
' Too late, Mr. Lazarus, too late ! not permissible after 
twelve o'clock.' 

* What do you mean ? ' 

1 This is the first of April, and you are trying to make of me 
an April fool.' 

4 1 am serious. I protest, most serious.' 

* Then,' said she, * it is yourself that you have succeeded in 
converting into a most egregious April fool.' 



COURT ROYAL 379 

CHAPTER L. 

TO THE RESCUE. 

MR. CHARLES CHEEK was supposed to know nothing of the difficul- 
ties of the family, till Lady Grace spoke to him so plainly on the 
subject. He had, however, heard something from the steward, 
whose mouth could not keep silence, and his father had told him 
plainly what he knew. From Mr. Worthivale he heard of the 
fresh trouble caused by the death of the Archdeacon. Nothing 
further had passed between him and Lady Grace. She was 
friendly, and he remained fascinated. There it stopped. 

Lord Saltcombe had at last been roused to take a decided step. 
The General told him of the Duke's objection to the sale of any- 
thing, and of the necessity under which they lay of at once find- 
ing money. The honour of the house was at stake, and the 
Marquess visited his father, and was closeted with him for an 
hour. 

When he came out, he went at once to the General. 

4 The Duke will allow me to act independently ; but he desires 
to be spared particulars. My hands are set free to raise money, 
but he is not to be consulted how it is to be raised, nor told how 
it was done when the money is raised. As we want immediate 
cash, let us have the plate and jewelry overhauled, and get rid 
of what is not necessary. There is that confounded set of 
diamonds I bought for Dulcina Eigsby. They cost twelve hundred, 
and I dare say will fetch two- thirds. As for the family jewelry 
I shall never marry, and so the race will expire with me. No 
Duchess of Kingsbridge will need them. My mother was the last. 
I have the key to the safe where they are kept.' 

( Let us begin at once, and pack what is not in immediate 
requisition.' 

Lord Saltcombe rang the bell for the butler, and ordered the 
plate chests to be taken into the state drawing-room, not now 
likely to be used again ; also the cases brought there that would 
be likely to serve for the packing of valuables. Mr. Blomfield 
obeyed without a muscle of his face working, and soon the grand 
room was filled with boxes and piles of silver plate, old salvers 
engraved with arms, supporters, and coronet, punch bowls, centre- 
pieces, goblets, christening and caudle cups, urns, kettles, tea and 
coffee pots, ewers, candelabra, a mass of metal, much of beautiful 
workmanship. 



380 COURT ROYAL. 

* That,' said the General, * is the great silver salver presented 
to the Field-Marshal by the City of Ghent, of which he was in 
possession at the time. He was not Duke then ; you see the 
fulsome inscription in Latin. This must be melted up. It will 
never do to have it sold as it is, to proclaim the straits to which 
the Eveleighs have been reduced.' 

The butler and the footman packed the plate in the green 
cloth-lined cases. In former times it had been transported with 
the Duke to town and back to the country. Consequently the 
proper conveniences for the reception and removal were ready. 

* Is not this beautiful ? ' said the General, pointing to a silver 
teapot on a lampstand of exquisite workmanship. On one side 
were represented Chinese picking tea leaves, on the other Chinese 
ladies sipping the beverage made from them. The groups were 
enclosed in the most delicate shell and flower work. With it went 
a cream and a milk jug, and a silver canister, all of equal beauty 
of workmanship. ' This set belonged to George the Second,' said 
the General ; * he gave it to the Duchess Lavinia on her marriage.' 

* Here is my christening cup, out of which I used to drink as a 
child, and there are the marks of my teeth on it,' said Lord Salt- 
combe, with forced gaiety. 

' This cream bowl ought to be valuable,' remarked Lord 
Ronald. * I never saw anything like the delicacy of the work, the 
festoons of roses and jessamine, with butterflies perched on them. 
Fortunately the arms are not on it. I suspect it is unique.' 

Tray after tray was filled with silver forks and spoons, soup- 
ladles, great gravy spoons, enough to furnish a Lord Mayor's 
banquet. 

When all the silver was packed that had to be sent away, and 
the rest, that was to be kept, was laid on the floor, the porcelain 
was collected. 

* Fetch everything from my room, Kobert,' said the Marquess ; 
then with a laugh, ' I have been disenchanted with some of my 
prizes, and doubt the value of the rest. I dare swear I have been 
egregiously taken in. Anyhow, there can be no questioning the 
value of these Sevres vases presented by Charles X., and there is 
abundance of precious Oriental china all over the house.' 

The room was now filled with splendid bowls, great standing 
vases for pot pourri, old Dresden figures, Chelsea in abundance, 
majolica dishes, Capo di Monte white groups, superb specimens of 
Palissy, services of Crown Derby, Swansea, and Wedgwood, of the 



COURT ROYAL. 381 

most choice and exquisite descriptions. Chimney-piece, plate 
chests, the floor, were encumbered with them. 

The Marquess himself went to the jewel chest, and brought in 
as much as he could carry. He laid on the table a tray of crimson 
velvet on which sparkled a tiara, necklace, stomacher, and ear- 
rings of diamonds. 

* My mother wore these at the coronation of Her Majesty,' 
said Lord Saltcombe ; ' she lost one of the diamonds out of the 
brooch, and never wore the set again. The place of the missing 
stone was never filled up ; perhaps that was the first symptom of 
difficulty in finding money.' 

A beautiful chain of white pearls with pendants of black pearls 
attracted his notice. 

' How well this would have become Grace,' he said. Then he 
brought in more, a complete parure of amethysts. Then rings 
diamond, topaz, amethyst and diamond, ruby. These splendid 
ornaments seemed in the cold daylight to have lost their 
sparkle, and to be sensible of the general sorrow, decay, and 
humiliation. 

* The pictures must come down,' said Lord Saltcombe. ' The 
Eubens at Kingsbridge House can be disposed of to the National 
Gallery, which is short of examples of that master.' 

* Will the nation care to spend thousands on fleshy Dutch- 
women ? I doubt it.' 

' Some of the paintings in this room are valuable,' said the 
Marquess. * Let us have them down, and they can be measured 
for their cases. That Murillo was bought by the first Duke off 
the easel of the painter. These Gerard Dows are more interest- 
ing than beautiful. There is an Adoration by Porbus, with Philip 
II. and Alva as two of the Wise Men. Here is a Turner purchased 
by my father, undescribed by Mr. Kuskin.' 

' The Reynolds' portraits what of them ? ' 

' We will not part with family pictures if we can help it. Let 
them remain suspended. There is a large Morland with its 
clump of dark trees, and a pretty Gainsborough, a fine example 
and worth a large sum. These must certainly come down.' 

Lord Saltcombe and the General were standing in the middle 
of the room, which was strewn with treasures. Most of the silver 
was packed, only that left out which was reserved for use. The 
china was about, some being packed in hay ; the jewels in their 
trays were spread out on the tables ; the pictures were unhung 



382 COURT ROYAL. 

when the door opened, and Lady Grace entered with Mr. Charles 
Cheek and Lucy. 

Lady Grace saw in a moment what was being done, and 
coloured and stood still. Lucy also understood the situation, and 
was seized with a fit of trembling. The occasion of their entry 
was this Charles had said, in the course of conversation, that he 
had never seen the state rooms, whereupon Lady Grace, unaware 
of what was taking place, had volunteered to show him through 
them. 

' Packing for removal to town,' said the General. * Rather 
late in the season, but better late than never.' 

Charles Cheek was not deceived. He drew back. He was 
moved. It was sad to see the break-up of a noble family, to 
stand, so to speak, beside its deathbed. He withdrew from the 
room at once, and halted on the staircase outside the door, and 
with agitation in his voice and face and manner, he said, ' Lady 
Grace ! will you give me a right to fly to your assistance, and 
prevent this humiliation ? ' 

* Yes,' she answered with calmness, ' I will.' 
That night Charles Cheek hastened to town by express that 
reached Paddington at 4 a.m. 

He was at his father's house before the old man was up, and 
he awaited him in the breakfast room. Charles was in a condi- 
tion of feverish excitement, in spite of his cold night-journey. 
A servant had taken him to a room where he had washed and 
changed his clothes. 

The old man came in, spruce as ever, in his black cloth frock 
coat, a white shirtfront, stretching his arms, and then rubbing his 
hands. 

' Governor ! ' exclaimed Charles, * I have been waiting to see 
you these two hours and a half, burning with impatience. I have 
something of importance to communicate.' 
( Ugh ! Want money ? ' 
4 No that is not for myself.' 
1 Ugh ! Still want it.' 

* That is not my primary reason for coming here.' 
The old man puffed himself out and stood by the fire, winking 
and rubbing his hands, and glowering at his son. 

< I have just returned from Court Royal. I have spoken to 

Lady Grace, and she has consented ' 

The father shook his head doubtfully. 



COURT ROYAL. 383 

* It is a fact, governor, I give you my word. She gave 
me the promise in the presence of Lucy Worthivale. Some 
time before she all but promised, but yesterday she was 
explicit.' 

The old man rubbed his hands vigorously, thrust his arms 
forward, flashing his cuffs, then hiding them again. 

* By Ginger ! ' he said, ' what a chap you are ! ' 
' Do you mistrust me ? ' 

'Mistrust? No. I didn't think you equal to it, though. 
You are a fine fellow, that you are. The girl has sense. Ginger ! 
she'll make a Lord Charlie of you.' 

* Hardly,' laughed Charles ; * the wife does not ennoble the 
husband.' 

4 Don't she ? She should. We'll change the law. Make it a 
political question. Don't tell me she'll flatten down into Mrs. 
Charles Cheek ! ' 

* Not quite that. But never mind. We have not got to that 
point. I want you, father, to act promptly. I have come by 
night express, and must return to-day.' 

( What do you mean to do ? ' 

* You will remember what you undertook. The family are in 
immediate want of money. If you are satisfied with what I have 
done, give me leave to stop the sale of their valuables.' 

' What ! Got to that pass ! A galloping consumption. When 
I undertake a thing, I do it ; I'll take up the mortgages to the 
tune I scored, but I won't tear them up till the marriage is 
accomplished.' 

Charles explained what the immediate need was. 

' Very well,' said the old man ; ' give me a bill of sale on the 
furniture and plate and pictures, and I'll advance the money. I'm 
not such a fool as to give without security.' 

That was the utmost Charles could obtain from his father. 

' There is no knowing,' said the old man. ' The young 
woman may mean right enough, but the aristocratical relations 
may interfere, and blow themselves out with pride, and refuse 
consent ; then what about my money ? As for the mortgages, 
I'll see to them at once. Those of Emmanuel shall be taken up 
immediately, and when the registers are signed, I'll tear them to 
shreds. As for ready money, I'll advance something on the stock- 
in-trade, but only if I have a bill on them to enable me to seize 
in default of fulfilment of conditions.' 



384 COURT ROYAL. 

Charles was obliged to be content with this. He returned the 
same day to Kingsbridge. 

* You've had a long journey,' said Mr. Worthivale. ' I was 
amazed when told you had gone to town. Nothing the matter 
with your father, I hope ? ' 

* Nothing at all,' answered the young man. Then, after look- 
ing inquiringly at the steward, ' I say, do you recall a certain 
conversation you had with my father ? ' 

* Bless my soul ! he overflowed with conversation, and every 
word was precious. To what do you particularly allude ? ' 

Mr. Worthivale knew very well what was meant, but he was 
reluctant to have this topic* retouched. Lucy had told him 
nothing. With his ideas, the suggestion of old Cheek had 
seemed to him a sort of blasphemy. 

f Well,' said Charles Cheek, < it has come about after all. Lady 
Grace has passed her word to me.' 

' Stuff and nonsense.' 

* It is a fact. I went up to town last night to communicate 
it to my father. If you are in immediate need of cash he will 
advance it on the security of the contents of Court Koyal and 
Kingsbridge House.' 

Mr. Worthivale coloured. 

' Lady Grace ! Impossible.' The steward was stupefied. ' Why, 
you are nothing, literally nothing, one of the people ; and your 
father is in ' with a shudder * trade ! ' 

* I assure you it is so. Ask Lucy. She was present.' 

' You misunderstood her. It is impossible. Sheer impossible. 
Your head has been turned. I ought never to have introduced 
you.' 

' I repeat ; she has consented.' 

1 But the Duke and the Marquis and Lord Ronald, what 
will they say ? ' 

4 They have not been asked.' 

4 You had better not ask them. As you value your happiness 
and my regard don't. For Heaven's sake, don't.' 

* Mr. Worthivale, excuse me, but you seem to think that the 
advantage is all on my side. Yesterday Lord Saltcombe and Lord 
Ronald were packing the valuables to be sent to London for sale. 
There is therefore desperate immediate need of money. I come 
offering to relieve them from their difficulties at least from those 
most urgent. The mortgages to the amount of two hundred 



COURT ROYAL. 385 

thousand pounds will be taken up by my father, and on our mar- 
riage he will give them over. The pictures may be rehung, the 
plate unpacked, the jewels and china replaced. I do not know 
what the sum is in immediate requisition, but my father is ready 
to advance it so long as it is under ten thousand on receipt of 
the consent of the Duke and the Marquess to the contents of these 
two houses, of which you will furnish a list, being the security for 
the sum.' 

* Not a word ol this to them ! Lord Saltcombe will never 
forgive me. My goodness ! What presumption there is in the 
rising generation ! To them nothing is sacred ! I suppose, sir, 
you are a blazing Kadical ? ' 

' I have no political opinions, having nothing to gain or lose.' 

* Leave this matter in my hands,' said the steward. * I will 
see the Duke. I will manage about the bill. I must rush off 
now, and stop the packing of the pictures and the carriage of the 
plate. I was to have gone to town with all the things, and done 
my best with them.' 

* You are welcome to arrange with the Duke about the bill, 
but I cannot have you interfere between me and Lady Grace.' 

' I I ! I would not dream of mentioning it. You have been 
deluded.' 

Who by ? By Lady Grace ? ' 

* Heaven forbid. She is incapable of falsehood. By your own 
inordinate vanity, which has deluded you into hearing things that 
were never said and seeing things that were never done. It is 
impossible. As soon make me believe the common people here 
when they tell me they have seen the sun dance on Easter 
morning.' 

Worthivale said no more. He was convinced that the young 
man had dreamed. It mattered little. The immediate advan- 
tage of the dream was great. The precious collections of Court 
Eoyal were saved for a time. Time was what he wanted. In 
time the Marquess would marry and shake oklCheek and all other 
Old Men of the Mountain off his shoulders who weighed him down 
and plucked the golden fruit and left him starving. In time 
Bigbury Bay would become a rival to Torquay, and make the 
Eveleighs as Torquay had made the Palks. In time the slate 
quarries would rout all other slates out of the market. In time 
the shale would distil petroleum. What mattered it, if for a 
while the young man were left dancing in darkness with 

VOL. VI. NO. 34, N. S. 18 



386 COURT ROYAL. 

bandaged eyes ? He would some day see his folly, and blush at 
his temerity. 

Meantime Providence was interfering for the salvation of the 
Eveleighs. 



CHAPTER LI. 

THE FLYING-FISH. 

JOANNA carried her point. She went to the ball. She had set 
her heart upon it. No dissuasion would turn her from her 
purpose, no difficulty discourage her. Gro she would, and go 
she did. 

The Easter ball was qualified by selectness. If it was nothing 
else, it was select. On this it prided itself. The most rigid 
censorship was exercised over the admissions by the committee. 
No one without blood, or this was a concession money was 
allowed. The committee sat at a table, and the names were 
passed from one to another. It was like running the gauntlet. 
Only those that came out unscathed between the lines were 
allowed to appear. The nobility and the county families 
patronised and attended it. The Earl and Countess of Mount 
Batten, Lord and Lady Laira, Sir John and Lady St. Austell, 
patronised the ball, and gave it the stamp of selectness. The 
generals and their ladies, the admirals and their parties, all the 
J.P.s and the J.P. fowl attended, and added their insistence to its 
selectness. The ball was so select that it hesitated to admit the 
womankind of marine officers and marine artillery officers. A 
select few of very superior marine officers were allowed to creep 
in, with a deferential air, and dance all night with their coat-tails 
between their legs, and a smile of humble thankfulness on their 
faces that they were allowed to caper in such select society. The 
ball was so select that no lady with the soil of trade on her fingers 
could hold them out for a ticket. It was so select that, of the 
Church, only the wives and daughters of rectors might enter ; the 
females whose orbit is in a Peel district, and revolve about vicars 
and curates, were shut out. It was so select that the family of 
the wine-merchant were as rigidly excluded as the family of the 
pastry-cook who united with the wine-merchant to furnish the 
supper. 

On the Cornish coast folk say, when the wind wails at the 



COURT ROYAL. 387 

windows, that the ghosts of drowned sailors are without, flatten- 
ing their spiritual noses against the panes, dabbing their dripping 
palms against the glass, weeping because excluded in wind and 
rain from the warmth and light within. Outside the great 
assembly-room, the spirits of unnumbered women wept and 
wrung their hands. The ball was too select for them. Let 
them dance on their own low levels, and not aspire to circle in 
the system of the social planets. 

This Easter ball was quite a different affair from the October 
and the hunt balls, when the room was occupied by cliques, and 
the cliques danced together, ignoring the cliques below them, and 
went to supper and ate in cliques, and talked in cliques, and flirted 
in cliques, and clacked in cliques. This ball was emphatically a 
one-clique ball. 

Yet, into this most select of balls Joanna thrust herself. This 
was how it was done. 

Mr. Lazarus had lent money to the Hon. Mrs. Yellowleaf, and 
he sent her a note to say that unless the loan were repaid by a 
certain date, he would County Court her. 

Mrs. Yellowleaf came down to his private office in great 
trepidation. She had not the money ; she was in daily expecta- 
tion of a remittance from an aunt. She entreated Mr. Lazarus to 
delay. Mr. Lazarus was inexorable. He wanted his money. He 
had heavy bills to meet by a certain day. Mrs. Yellowleaf had 
promised repeatedly to repay the loan, and had not done so. His 
patience was exhausted. He was a poor man, he had put himself 
to great inconvenience to find her the money ; if she could not 
or would not pay, he must cast her into court, and if that failed 
he would put in an execution. Mrs. Yellowleaf turned green at 
the threat, and nearly fainted. 

* I cannot find the money,' she said ' I simply cannot. My 
husband, as you know, is with the China squadron. My remit- 
tances have not arrived. My aunt is very kind, but she is out of 
humour with me just now, and I dare not press for more.' 

When he had reduced her to a condition of abject despair, then 
only did he offer relief. Eelief could be bought but on hard 
terms. She must take under her protection to the ball a young 
lady who particularly desired to attend. 

The Hon. Mrs. Yellowleaf was aghast. This was a sheer im- 
possibility. She could not, she would not run such a risk. The 
tears came into her eyes. She knew nothing of the 'person,' 

182 



388 COURT ROYAL. 

neither her name, nor character, nor antecedents. The ball was 
most select. She might get into serious social trouble by 
taking there an individual unqualified to associate with good 
society. There were so many denied admission whose claims were 
urgent. 

' Very well,' said Lazarus, rising. * Then prepare to see your 
name in the West of England papers. You shall have your 
summons to-morrow.' 

* Who is she ? ' asked Mrs. Yellowleaf, after a pause for con- 
sideration. 

Lazarus explained that she was a Miss Rosevere, an heiress, 
an orphan, of irreproachable character. * No relations in Ply- 
mouth, none that I know of in Devon or Cornwall.' 

* What is she like ? ' asked Mrs. Yellowleaf, doubtfully. 

* Like ! there won't be one in the room will surpass her in 
looks, I can assure you.' 

' She is not not an Israelite ? ' She thought ' Jewess ' might 
sound rude, so she said * Israelite.' 

< You need not fear. Not a bit. Cornish comes from the 
dark lot down the coast by Veryan and Goran ; dark hair, dark 
eyes, olive skin. She'll be the belle of the ball, and the richest 
girl there too.' 

The Hon, Mrs. Yellowleaf drew a sigh of relief. 

* Very well, Mr. Lazarus, if you will not press for payment, I 
will take the young lady. I trust she dresses well.' 

* Dress ! she'll dress as well as the best, I promise you.' 
So it was settled. Mrs. Yellowleaf was uneasy about her 

undertaking, but unable to evade it. 

On the evening of the ball Joanna was seen into a cab by 
Mr. Lazarus. ' Ah, lack-a-day ! ' said he, as he shut the door on 
her, * I can't go with you, but it ain't possible. The sight of 
me in the assembly-room would be too much for the nerves of 
some folk there.' 

The Hon. Mrs. Yellowleaf 's carriage led the way, followed by 
Joanna's cab. The lady had just seen her in the hall. She was 
sorry that she had no place in her own carriage to offer Miss 
Rosevere, as her daughters and son went with her ; if Miss 
Rosevere would follow in her fly, she would await her in the 
entrance or disrobing room. 

Accordingly she saw Joanna when she put off her cloak and 



COURT ROYAL. 389 

shawl. She looked scrutinisingly at her, and was struck by her 
beauty. She turned sharply round, with motherly apprehension, 
and caught an admiring expression in her son's face. ' I wonder 
whether she be really an heiress ! ' thought Mrs. Yellowleaf. 
' Possibly enough that, being a stranger, she may not have known 
any 'one to whom to apply.' 

She thereupon softened towards the girl, and spoke to her 
amiably. Joanna had much less dialect than one of her status 
might be supposed to be infected with, for she had not associated 
with other girls at the Barbican. She had grown up alone, talk- 
ing only to Lazarus, who had no provincial brogue. His English 
was passable. Joanna's was also passable, though not the language 
of perfect culture. Mrs. Yellowleaf knew, the moment she opened 
her mouth, that she had not the bringing up of a lady. A very few 
words sufficed. 'Ah ! ' she thought, 'some mining captain's daughter, 
who made a fortune in tin, and left it to her. She has money, 
but not breed. Still, she has money. After all, nowadays, money 
is everything.' That was to be her explanation, if asked about 
Joanna. ' My dear, an acquaintance whom I could not refuse 
asked me to be civil to the young lady. People are very 
inconsiderate. They ask you to carry parcels for them, and stand 
chaperon to all sorts and conditions of girls. It ought not to 
be done. As for this Miss Kosevere I know nothing about her, 
except that elle est une bonne partie, worth, I am told, but I do 
not know, three thousand a year.' That is what she would say. 
What she thought was, ' Three thousand will obscure bad into- 
nation and grammatical slips.' 

As she went upstairs she wondered whether it would be well 
to allow John-Conolly, her son, to take a fancy to the girl. ' Not,' 
she considered, ' till I know exactly her value. Her father's will 
can be seen in the Probate Court for a shilling.' 

She touched one of her daughters. ' My dear Lettice,' she 
whispered, 'if Mr. Charles Cheek should ask you to dance, be 
civil. It is true that his antecedents leave much to be desired, 
but he has, and will have, money.' 

Mr. Cheek was there, much disappointed at not being able 
to appear in company with Lady Grace and the Marquess. Still, 
though debarred their companionship, Charles was not disposed 
to forego the gratification. He was becoming very tired of the 
uniformity of life in the country, and depressed by the cloud of 
troubles which hung over Court Koyal. At first he did not 



390 



COURT ROYAL. 



observe Joanna. But on going up to speak to the Hon. Mrs. Yellow- 
leaf, and engage Miss Lettice for a dance, his eye met that of 
Joanna. A look of incredulity, then of blank amazement, then of 
amused delight, swept across his face. ' Halloo ! ' he checked 




himself when * Joe 5 was on his lips, and substituted * Miss 
Eosevere.' 

' You know Miss Eosevere ? ' asked Mrs. Yellowleaf in trepi- 
dation. She had noticed the change of expression in his face. 

* Oh yes ! old acquaintances,' answered Charles, with his eyes 
still on Joanna, full of wonder and question. 



COURT ROYAL. 391 

' Where have you met ? ' asked Mrs. Yellowleaf. 

t At at the Duke of Kiiigsbridge's Court Koyal,' answered 
Charles, dashing at the first name that occurred to him. 

' How is the Duke ? ' asked Joanna, with composure. ' And 
dear old Lord Eonald. So grieved to see that the Archdeacon is 
dead. The blow must have been severe to his Grace. The 
brothers were so attached.' 

* Oh, well that is, not very well. I am just come from 
Court Koyal.' 

' Indeed,' said Joanna. < And sweet Lady Grace, and Lucy 
Worthivale ? ' 

' They -are well,' answered Charles, puzzled beyond description. 
How did the girl know anything about the Eveleighs ? 

' You were not at the Christmas ball,' said Joanna, * when 
the Eigsbys were staying at the Court, and every one supposed 
Dulcina would become Marchioness. Yonder she is with her 
coffee-coloured father. How tastelessly she does dress ! I must 
go over and speak to her. Come with me, Mr. Cheek.' 

' Joe ! ' he whispered, as he escorted her across the room, ' of 
all wonders this is the most wonderful ! ' 

' Am I out of my element the flying-fish among gulls ? ' 

Not a bit.' 

' How do you do, Miss Eigsby ? ' said Joanna, extending her 
hand. * I am afraid you do not recollect me ; but we met at 
Court Eoyal during the winter.' 

Dulcina looked at her uncertainly. She could not remember 
the face ; but was that wonderful ? She had met so many 
strangers at the Court. She was glad, however, to be recognised, 
and to have some one to speak to, as she knew few ladies in 
Plymouth. 

The Hon. Mrs. Yellowleaf nudged her son. ' John-Conolly,' 
she said, 'you see the plain-faced, gorgeously dressed girl that 
Miss Eosevere is speaking to. She is an undoubted heiress. Go 
and secure her hand for as many dances as you can. Be very 
civil to her, and bear in mind that you must either work or marry 
money.' 

' Mother, I'd a thousand times rather dance with that charming 
girl you brought here.' 

' Dance with both. Try to be struck with both, and let them 
perceive it; but be cautious with the Eosevere. II me faut 
prendre des renseignements.' 



392 COURT ROYAL. 

* Who is that very striking young lady yonder ? ' asked Mrs. 
Fothergill, wife of a country squire. 

* That,' answered Mrs. Yellowleaf, ' is a Cornish heiress. 
Between me, you, and the post money made in mines. How- 
ever, the Kingsbridge family have taken her up, and put the 
cachet on her. Lady Grace Eveleigh and the Marquess are 
unable to be here, owing to the death of their uncle, the Arch- 
deacon. As they could not come with a party, I was asked to 
bring Miss Eosevere. Very rich and handsome, though somewhat 
wanting in polish.' 

' Joey ! ' said Charles Cheek, when no one was by to hear, 
* this is roaring fun. You are* the most audacious little rogue I 
ever came across. You thrust yourself in here anywhere that 
you have a mind. And then you extort a hundred pounds from 
my father ! Oh, Joe, I have never thanked you for that. It was 
good of you. But conceive how staggered I was when my father 
ran up alongside without showing signals, and poured a broadside 
into me because I had got myself entangled with a little pawn. 
Put me down for a score of dances, Joe. I had rather dance with 
you than with any other girl, and talk of something different from 
the weather and the primroses.' 

But this might not be. Joanna had no lack of partners. The 
rumour spread that she was a Cornish heiress taken up by the 
Kingsbridge family. There was no question as to her beauty, or 
to her ease of manner and movement. Ease of manner was given 
by complete self-assurance. Ease of movement by the fact that 
she had lived all her life in slippers. 

* Cheek,' said an officer, * surely that is the girl I saw in the 
stage-box the night of that frightful accident. You went up and 
talked to her. We asked you then who she was.' 

' Yes, and I told you.' 

' You told us she was an heiress, and were disinclined to intro- 
duce us. It is mean of a man like you, with such prospects, to 
keep the heiresses to yourself.' 

1 You are too dangerous a rival,' answered Charles, laughing. 
' But it is not true ; I leave the field clear about Miss Eigsby.' 

* What an uncommonly good-looking girl that is ! ' said one 
mother, against the wall, to another standard medlar. ' Not quite 
happy about her extraction, I understand.' 

' Eather odd in speech, I hear,' answered the latter. 'But the 
Kingsbridge people have taken her up on account of her money, 



COURT ROYAL. 393 

and there is a rumour of the Marquess of Saltcombe becoming 
engaged to her, now he is off with Miss Rigsby. They could not 
come because they are in mourning, so they asked Mrs. Yellow- 
leaf to be responsible for her.' 

' Dear me ! I had no idea Mrs. Yellowleaf was intimate with 
the Eveleighs. I hear queer reports about the Kingsbridge 
family very shaky, I understand.' 

' Ah, bah ! Every planet has its occultations, and comes out of 
the shadow as bright as before. You never have known what it is 
to be in financial eclipse, I suppose.' 

Joanna was dancing with Charles Cheek. 

* You do not know how you are perplexing the old ladies,' he 
said. * As for the men, they are infatuated. Take care, Joe, that 
you leave no joint in your armour open for an arrow to enter. 
Some of the markswomen will be spanning their bows at you 
before the night wears to day.' 

* What a pity you were not at the Christmas ball at Court 
Royal ! ' said Joanna, without noticing his warning. ' I mean, of 
course, the first ball ; the second was only for the tenants and 
servants. The room the grand ball-room, you know it was 
superb with its painted groups in panel, of the time of Louis XIV. 
It belonged to the older house, and was incorporated in the new 
mansion built by the late Duke. And the crystal lustres 
twinkling with rainbow-tinted light. And the drawing-room 
do you know the pictures there ? The Gainsborough, and the 
Murillo ; the S&vres vases given by Charles X. ? ' 

* Joe ! ' exclaimed Charles, * you will drive me mad. Are you 
a witch ? Have you the gift of second sight ? How come you to 
know anything about the rooms and people at Court Royal ? ' 

' Never mind. I will not tell you.' 

* I am cross with you for one thing, Joe. You might have 
been sure I would have been here to-night, and it would have 
been graceful to wear the Roman pearls I gave you. They were 
only Roman pearls, true, but the chain was pretty.' 

' I could not. I had given it away.' 
' Oh, Joe ! how could you do that ? ' 
' I gave it to the best of women.' 
1 Who can that be ? I know one whom I think that.' 
' It is the same. She has it Lady Grace Eveleigh.' 
Charles Cheek stood still in the midst of the dance. * You 
gave my necklace to her ! Impossible.' 

186 



394 COURT ROYAL. 

' Ask her next time you meet. She will tell you it is true. 
Now tell me something. How come you to know Court Koyal ? ' 

' That is easily answered. Mr. Worthivale, the steward, is my 
cousin. I have been staying with him, in exile because of you. 
My father has sent me there into banishment.' 

* That is why I have not seen you in Plymouth ? ' 

* Yes and , I will confide something more to you that 
affects me greatly. You will hear it talked about shortly. I am 
going to marry Lady Grace Eveleigh.' 

Joanna stood still, and stared at him. ' Impossible ! ' she said. 

* It is true I assure you it is true.' 

' I will dance no more,' said* Joanna, abruptly. * Take me to a 
chair.' 

* Remember, you owe me the next waltz.' 
4 1 will not dance with you again.' 

She remained seated during several dances ; the gentlemen 
came round her, entreating her to honour them, but she refused 
all. She said she was tired. 

At first Joanna was occupied with her own thoughts, and paid 
no attention to what passed about her, but she presently woke 
to the sense that she had seated herself in a wasps' nest. The 
ladies around her were faded beauties or mothers, and resented 
the arrival of a stranger on their preserves who carried off the 
beaux from themselves or from their daughters. 

By slow degrees she was roused to give attention to the con- 
versation that went on about her, and to become aware that words 
were flying around barbed and poisoned. 

' Who is that child in pink yonder ? ' asked a handsome lady 
on the verge of thirty, who must at one time have been a queen 
of beauty. { Can you tell me, Mrs. Delany ? It is cruel to send 
children who cannot be over seventeen, and ought to be in bed 
and sleeping.' 

The lady addressed sat on the other side of Joanna. Joanna 
looked sharply round, she was curious to see Mrs. Delany, in whose 
service she was supposed to have been so many years. That lady 
shrugged her shoulders contemptuously, and, returning Joanna's 
stare, answered the faded beauty. 

* My dear, how can I tell ? The ball has ceased to be select. 
What the committee can be about is more than I can answer, 
admitting persons of whom one knows nothing.' 

' Is that worse,' asked Joanna, innocently, ' than giving cha- 



COURT ROYAL. 395 

racters to servants you have never seen ? There was much talk of 
a lady having done this when I was at Court Eoyal.' 

Mrs. Delany turned crimson, and sat back. 

' I have known quite nameless, unknown persons give them- 
selves out as friends of people of rank,' said a lady on the other 
side of Mrs. Delany, 'who turned out on inquiry to have been 
governesses or companions in the family.' 

'I have heard,' said Joanna, 'of gentlemen so absolutely 
nameless nothings that they have had to borrow their wives' 
names and get knighted in them.' 

The lady put up her fan instantly. 

' What bad form it is, Lady Hawkins,' said the ex-queen, ' in 
unmarried girls wearing jewelry,' and her eyes rested on a necklet 
round Joanna's throat. 

' I beg your pardon,' said Joanna. ' Is Mrs. Grathercole ad- 
dressing me ? I ask because I see you wearing a brooch I coveted 
the other day, but I was too late it was sold to Captain Grathercole.' 

She felt she did not see a shiver of suppressed laughter 
about her. The fading beauty turned deadly white, rose, and left 
the place. 

' What a pity it is,' said the lady who took the vacated chair, 
addressing Mrs. Delany across Joanna, < that the possession of 
money should be deemed a sufficient qualification for admission ! 
There are persons in this room who have no other right to be here.' 

1 But there are persons admitted who have not even money 
qualifications,' said Joanna. ' Persons glad to get a guinea from 
the Jews for a gown of old gold and black lace.' 

The lady sprang up as if she had been stung, and Mrs. Delany 
burst out laughing ; the old gold with black lace was well known. 

' As for Cornish mines in which some people have their money,' 
remarked another, who had not spoken before, ' I am well assured 
that such property is unsatisfactory as castles in Spain.' 

' Or,' observed Joanna, speaking aloud but addressing no one, 
' or as husbands at sea, always at sea, but never seen, like the 
Flying Dutchman.' 

In the midst of the silence that ensued, Charles Cheek came 
up and offered her his arm. She rose and took it. Her colour 
was heightened and her eyes sparkled. 

' Good heavens, Joe ! What have you been doing ? You 
have set all the women against you ! ' 

' The flying-fish can snap as well as the gulls,' she replied. 



396 COURT ROYAL. 

CHAPTER LIL 
ON THE PIER. 

WHEN Mrs. Yellowleaf was ready to leave, she intimated her 
intention somewhat curtly to Joanna. Charles Cheek at once 
flew to assist her to her cab and muffle her in wraps. Mrs. 
Yellowleaf s carriage was first packed and driven off. Then Charles 
said, * Are you by yourself? That must not be. Allow me to 
accompany you to the Barbican, and see you safely home.' He 
waited for no reply, but stepped into the carriage beside Joanna. 

* Oh, Joe ! ' he said, * you have made mortal enemies. Your 
mots have been passed round the room, and those whom you 
stabbed will never forgive you. How did you know anything 
about Sir William Hawkins taking his wife's name, 'and being 
knighted in it, because he was well, without a name of his own ? 
And that affair of Captain Gfathercole and Miss Fanshawe, and 
Mrs. Duncombe whose husband never turns up and the rest ? ' 

' I know everything about people in Plymouth it is part of 
the business.' 

4 You will never, never be forgiven.' 

* I am not likely to meet these people again.' 
' Did you enjoy yourself? ' 

{ For a while and then I did not care for the ball any more.' 
1 Why not?' 
She did not answer. 

The cab was dismissed at the Barbican, and Charles paid the 
driver. 

* Joe,' said he, ' come on to the pier, and let us look at the 
water rippling in the moon. It will be dawn directly.' 

She hesitated a moment, and then said, ' Very well ; I want 
to tell you something.' 

He gave her his arm. ' You are not likely to catch cold, I 
hope ? ' 

She shook her head. 

' The more I see of you,' said he, * the more I wonder at you. 
You are a person of infinite resource. Joe ! tell me you are not 
cross with me for what I confided to you.' 

* Not a bit,' she answered. ' I told you to aim at position, 
and you have followed my advice.' 

* It was my father's doing.' 



COURT ROYAL. 397 

' Do you not love and admire her ? You must you must 
do that ! Why, I do ! I love her still.' 

' Of course I admire Lady Grace. Never can fail to do that. 
I love her also well in about the same fashion as a Catholic 
loves and adores the Virgin.' 

' Are you satisfied with what you have done ? ' 

'I will empty my whole heart before you,' he said. ' I know 
you are capable of advising me of encouraging me.' He sighed. 
* I daren't say all I think ! ' 

She laughed. * In the same breath hot and cold. You will 
and you won't. You can and you can't.' 

' Do not sneer at me. I am in a difficulty. I assure you I 
have been mortally weary of the life at Court Koyal Lodge. Old 
Worthivale, the steward, is a sort of cousin of mine, and infinitely 
tedious. Beavis, his son, is too occupied with the family failure 
to give me much of his company, and he has not that in him to 
afford me entertainment. I have hunted twice a week, but now 
the hunting is over. Five days a week I am consumed with 
ennui. I go to the club in Kingsbridge, and try to find some 
fellows with whom to play billiards, but sometimes no one is 
there : the day is fine, and they want to boat ; or the day is wet, 
and they want to read novels at home over the fire. Then they 
all talk shop local shop. They seem to me like a cage of 
animals bred in confinement, who can only think and feel interest 
and talk of the world within the bars of their cage. If I had not 
passed my word to my father, I would have run long ago.' 

* Is there no attraction, then ? ' 

' I allow there is Lady Grace. She is beautiful, sweet as an 
angel. She is kind to me, but never affectionate, and I cannot 
conceive it possible that we shall ever stand nearer to each other 
than we do at present. Of course we can be married, but that 
will not fuse my soul into hers and hers into mine, because we 
have so little in common. We have different specific gravities. 
When we are together, and I see her gentle face and hear her 
soft tones, I am under a charm which holds me at a distance. 
The charm draws and repels at once. Can you understand ? I 
feel that I love her, but I feel also that she is unapproachable by 
such as me. If we do get married, we shall be like a two-volumed 
book, of which the volumes belong to different editions, and are 
in different type and of different sizes. We shall belong to 
each other so far that we shall bear the same label, but she will 



398 COURT ROYAL. 

belong to an edition de luxe, and I to the cheap and popular 
issue.' 

' Then why did you propose to Lady Grace ? Was it merely 
to obtain position ? ' 

' No, Joe. My father wished it, urged it, badgered me into it. 
I liked her, I cannot do other than like her. I pity the family. 
And then the Worthivales put me on my mettle.' 

'How so?' 

'They scouted the possibility of my winning her. They 
seemed to regard me as the dirt of the street aspiring to the sun.' 

' Do you think you will not be happy with her ? ' 

' I shall go to church witb her and never get out of it again. 
We shall carry the church with its solemnity and oppressive- 
ness and mustiness into our married life. Our tendencies are 
diverse as those of a balloon and a diving-bell. We shall have as 
little intellectual sympathy as John Bright and a " Blackwood " 
which he was cutting and trying to read. I belong too much to 
Bohemia, with the city of Prague as my Jerusalem.' 

' If that be so, you are in a false position, and must leave it.' 

' I cannot,' answered Charles. ' I cannot do so without cruelty. 
The family are in straits for money. My father has undertaken to 
pay off the most pressing mortgages and debts. If the marriage 
does not come off they will be utterly ruined. Do you know, I 
stopped the sale of their pictures, plate, and jewels. All were 
being packed to send to London ; when I got Lady Grace's 
promise I galloped to town on the back of an engine, and got my 
father to advance the necessary money to stop the sale.' 

' Does Lady Grace marry you to save her family ? ' 

'I do not know that she is aware of the compact but I 
suppose she must,' he added humbly. ' She never would take 
me for myself. The brazen pot and the earthen pot are going to 
float down the stream together, and we shall have to keep our dis- 
tance for fear of jars.' 

Joanna stood on the pier looking out at the promontory of 
Mount Batten that seemed to landlock the harbour. The moon 
was behind the citadel, steeping the Barbican in night, but the 
water beyond flashed like quicksilver. She folded her arms under 
her wraps. Charles tried to read her face, but there was no moon- 
light on it, and the pier-lantern was high above, casting a shadow 
over her. 

' Well, Joe, what do you think ? ' 



COURT ROYAL. 399 

' Give me time to consider.' 

' I am in this position. If I marry her I shall gain that which 
you have bidden me aim for, and shall have pleased my father, 
and saved a worthy family from utter destruction. On the other 
hand, I shall have sacrificed my independence and cut myself off 
from the rollicking life that suits me. I shall live in a social 
strait-waistcoat, and I hate restraint. If I do not go through 
with the matter I shall make the governor furious ; he will never 
forgive me, and the Duke will go to pieces. Is it honourable and 
fair for me to back out ? ' 

' No, Mr. Cheek, it is not. Go on,' said Joanna, and sighed. 

' I thought you would say so,' observed Charles, also with a 
sigh, ' but I hoped that your advice would be contrary.' 

Then neither spoke for some time. Far away, behind the hills 
to the east, the sky was beginning to whiten, but the moon shone 
so brightly that the tokens of coming day were hardly perceptible. 

' We are old friends, are we not ? ' said Charles, sadly. 

' Yes we have known each other since last fifth of November.' 

* What a time it seems since then ! So much has happened 
that it is an age to me.' 

* Also to me. To me it has been the change from childhood 
to womanhood, from outward hardship to inward suffering. It 
cannot be other. Mr. Cheek, we must part. We shall see each 
other no more.' 

' No more ! ' he echoed. * Nonsense, I intend to see a great 
deal of you when allowed to return from exile.' 
She shook her head. ' It cannot be.' 

* Why not ? The Golden Balls is here, and the door open. If 
I choose to enter with a pair of silver spoons, who is to thrust me 
out ? And if there be no customers in the shop, I suppose I may 
perch on the counter and enjoy a pleasant chat ? ' 

* No,' she said, ' never again. You told me yourself you were 
going into social stays. You are changing your nationality, and 
about to forget Bohemia.' 

1 Not yet, no no ! 1 will enjoy my freedom for a while longer.' 

* There is a further reason why I cannot allow it,' she said, 
and looked before her into the dark water, and beyond it to the 
glittering sheet of wavering silver. * I am going to be married.' 

* Married ! you Joanna ! ' 

Both stood silent, so silent that nothing was audible but the 
lapping of the water on the steps of the pier. 



400 



COURT ROYAL. 



* Joanna ! I will not believe it. To whom ? ' 

* To Lazarus.' 

1 Joanna ! ' There was mingled pain and horror in his tone. 
She said nothing more, but shivered, though wrapped up well in 
shawls. 




' Come hither,' said Charles, almost roughly. * The first time 
I saw you, I took you to the light to see your face ; and the face 
I then saw has haunted me ever since. Come here, and let me 
see your face again. I will see if this be cursed earnest or cruel 
joke.' He drew her within the radiance of the lamp, and turned 
the head up. She offered no resistance, but looked firmly at him. 



COURT ROYAL. 401 

There was no mischief lurking in the dimples at the corners 
of her mouth, no devilry in her eyes. There were dark lines in 
her face, gloom in her deep great irises, and set determination 
in her mouth. She felt that the hand that raised her chin to 
expose her face was trembling and cold. She was glad when 
he withdrew it, and her face relapsed into shadow. Perhaps she 
could not have maintained composure much longer under the 
scrutiny of his eyes. 

* I cannot help myself,' she said in a low voice. * Judge for 
yourself if I can. Lazarus has resolved that I shall be his wife. 
I suppose he is afraid of losing me unless he ties me fast. But 
what can I do ? I have no home, no father. I must wait here 
till my mother returns. I am number 617. I have been 617 
in the shop for seven years. Everything else in the shop has 
changed, but I have remained. Old goods have gone, and new 
come in, and the same numbers have represented scores of new 
objects ; only 617 has not changed. Some of the articles have 
been redeemed, but I have not. Some have lapsed, and I am